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Russian warplanes and Syrian forces have repelled an offensive by jihadists in a de-escalation zone in Idlib governorate in Syria. The forces killed some 850 militants and destroyed 11 tanks and other assets, Russia’s General Staff reported.
The jihadists attacked the positions of government forces stationed to the north and northeast of the city of Hama. The positions are part of a designated de-escalation zone, which covers Idlib governorate, the powerbase of a number of anti-government armed groups in Syria, the Russian military said.
The report accused U.S. security services of instigating the offensive, which, the statement said, is meant to derail the successful operation of Damascus forces east of Deir ez-Zor.
The Russian General Staff said the militants tried to capture a unit of the Russian military police, which have a mandate to monitor the ceasefire in the Idlib de-escalation zone. The unit was forced to fight against a larger enemy presence for several hours, but prevailed thanks to the support of a local militia.
The General Staff said the jihadist offensive had been stopped. The militants’ estimated losses include some 850 fighters, 11 tanks, three infantry fighting vehicles, 46 armed pickup trucks, five mortars, 20 freighter trucks and 38 ammo supply points… … …