Russian jets hit targets in Syria near Turkish border

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Russian jets pounded several targets in northern Syria near the Turkish border on Sunday, including a gas facility, Reuters reported.

The Syrian army also attacked a hospital in the area, killing seven civilians, among them a child, the news wire said, citing witnesses and rebel sources.

Syria’s government launched a Russian backed offensive to recapture Idlib in April 2019. Turkey has deployed troops and backed opposition forces to try to halt the advance, which has displaced around 1 million people.

Dozens of vehicles carrying goods in a trailer park near Bab al Hawa, a border crossing with Turkey, were on fire following the attack on the gas facility, Reuters said.

Turkey has requested that Russia immediately halt the attacks, the Defence Ministry said.

“Our troops have been alerted,” it said.

Russia is trying to diminish the last rebel stronghold in Syria and destroy commercial activity, the Turkish-backed rebel alliance National Army’s spokesperson said, according to Reuters.

The Russian air strikes came close to refugee camps on the Turkey border, Reuters said.

Ankara and Moscow agreed to establish a demilitarised zone in Idlib in 2018 to prevent an assault of the Syrian government on the enclave. Idlib, which is home to more than 3 million people, including those who were displaced during the nine-year civil war, has critical importance for Turkey, which already hosts 3.6 million Syrians.

But the Russia-backed Damascus government launched an offensive on Idlib in April 2019, saying that Turkey failed to remove extremist fighters and terrorists from the enclave.

Ahval

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