Russian and Syrian Airstrikes Pound Idlib, Killing 24

Scores Wounded, Many Seriously, in Attacks

A growing number of airstrikes against the Nusra Front-controlled Idlib Province in northwestern Syria have been reported throughout the weekend, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reporting that 24 civilians were killed and around 70 others wounded in the past 24 hours.

The deaths were the result of a number of different attacks across the province, with several different areas targeted, including Jisr al-Shughour and Maraat al-Numaan, the main towns along Idlib’s border with neighboring Latakia, which are commonly targeted with an eye toward an eventual military offensive into the province.

The majority of Nusra’s territory, Idlib has long been expected to be a military offensive target for Syrian ground troops, though Nusra’s advances into Aleppo Province have shifted the focus further east. This has meant continued airstrikes against Idlib, however, with an eye toward keeping Nusra forces there from being able to reinforce Aleppo.

Airstrikes against the towns tend to result in a lot of civilian casualties, likely reflecting the lack of intelligence on what is being targeted around such areas. Still, Syria and Russia have felt obliged to launch strikes as fighting with Nusra continues, even if they’re not always clear what they’re aiming at.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.