Syrian regime breaks ceasefire in Idlib, prepares for 'large-scale military operation'

Syrian regime breaks ceasefire in Idlib, prepares for 'large-scale military operation'
The regime bombed several areas south of Idlib city, including Mount Zawiya, according to activist Mustafa Al-Mohammed.
2 min read
06 October, 2021
The Syrian regime has continued to break an Idlib ceasefire [OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP/Getty-file photo]

The Syrian regime continued to break a ceasefire in place in Idlib in the country's northwest on Wednesday morning, amid reports of a large scale operation being prepared by Damascus.

It comes just hours after President Bashar al-Assad's forces reinforced their presence in the area amid clashes with opposition fighters, The New Arab's Arabic sister service, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, said.

Mustafa Al-Mohammed, an activist, told the news outlet the regime bombed several areas south of Idlib city, including Kansafra and Mount Zawiya.

The artillery fire has led to property damage and follows similar bombing in Aleppo's western countryside.

Opposition groups bombed the regime on Tuesday evening in positions in Idlib, Aleppo and Hama provinces in retaliation for ceasefire violations, according to sources who spoke to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

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It was previously claimed opposition fighters brought down two booby-trapped drones used by regime and allied militia forces in the Mount Zawiya area to target civilian and armed personnel in the region.

Regime and Russian military reconnaissance aircraft have been repeatedly sighted.

Meanwhile, the pro-regime Al-Watan newspaper said Assad's troops reinforced themselves in Idlib to get ready for a significant armed effort to take place there soon.

The daily cited a "field source" as asserting "the army [of the regime] has sent additional reinforcements in terms of personnel and equipment to the southern Idlib countryside".

This is "in the context of preparing for an imminent large-scale military operation".

The paper said its insider claimed forces "in the Idlib countryside pounded terrorists' movements with artillery fire in several hubs in Mount Zawiya".

Sergey Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, had previously insisted Moscow seeks to combat Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) extremists in Idlib and to be rid of "terrorist organisations" there.

HTS' civilian branch, the Syrian Salvation Government, is in de facto control of much of Idlib province.

This comes as Turkey, which supports a different set of Aleppo-based rebels, last week reinforced its positions in Mount Zawiya where the contact lines with Assad's forces are.