Syrian and Russian warplanes carried out a series of airstrikes against the countryside around rebel-held Jisr al-Shughour, on the western edge of Idlib Province. 13 civilians were reported killed, and it’s unclear if any rebel fighters were slain.
These strikes come ahead of an expected ground invasion of Idlib, the last major rebel-held area across Syria. The timing of such an offensive is unclear, but it is not unusual for Syria to conduct a protracted air campaign ahead of such operations to soften up defenses.
This is also coming ahead of talks in Tehran that are expected to include Iran, Turkey, and Russia, and are likely to discuss the Idlib issue. Iran and Russia are both supporting a planned Idlib offensive, as an effort to reunify Syria.
Strikes centering on Jisr al-Shughour suggest that a ground offensive is going to start imn the wes of the province, along the Latakia border, and advance in that direction. Previous government pushes at Idlib have started in the south, from Hama.
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