Russian forces kill 34 fighters in Syria's Idlib, says Interfax agency
Russian forces have killed 34 fighters and wounded more than 60 in air strikes on targets in Syria's Idlib governorate, Russia's Interfax reported late on Sunday, citing the deputy head of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria.
"The Russian Aerospace Forces carried out air strikes in the province of Idlib on targets of illegal armed groups involved in shelling the positions of Syrian government troops," Interax cited Rear Admiral Vadim Kulit as saying of the Saturday attack.
Kulit said that in 24 hours, positions of Syrian government troops were attacked seven times.
Reuters said it was not able to independently verify the Russian report.
The Syrian army has blamed rebels, who it says are Islamist jihadists, for attacks on government-held areas in Idlib and Aleppo provinces and denies indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas under rebel control.
Opposition officials say both Moscow and Damascus are taking advantage of the world's preoccupation with the Gaza conflict to escalate pounding of a region where more than three million inhabitants refuse to live under the authoritarian rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Kulit also reiterated frequent Russian accusations of aircraft violation in Syria's airspace by the U.S.-led coalition saying that a number of jet and drone flights were not coordinated with the Russian side.
Earlier, a source told Reuters that the United States has carried out two air strikes against Iran-aligned groups in Syria.