Russian Airstrikes Kill 45 Islamists in Syria’s Idlib

Strikes hit warehouse, arms depots

Russia claimed a series of airstrikes in Syria’s Idlib killed at least 45 Islamists from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an al-Qaeda affiliate.

Russia reported the strikes hit a warehouse in Sheikh Yousef, along with a pair of arms depots all belonging to the militants, who control most of Idlib Province.

Idlib is one of the last rebel provinces, where Syrian forces control the south, Turks hold the far north, and the HTS Islamists hold the central highway leading to Aleppo.

The US has listed HTS as a terrorist group, but tends to issue statements sympathetic to them and critical to both Syria and Russia for fighting against them. Turkey is at times critical of HTS for taking land belonging to Turkish-backed rebels, but opposes Syrian offensives against them, feeling they own that land for the rebellion.

When HTS or other rebels move against Assad’s forces, Russia tends to respond with airstrikes to slow their gains, keeping anyone from putting Assad’s survival in jeopardy.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.