Assad regime to go 'all the way' in Syria's Idlib

31 August, 2018, 19:44 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Missiles streak across the Damascus skyline as the US Britain and France launch an attack on Syria

Over 25 Russian battleships and 30 warplanes will participate in military drills in the Mediterranean on September 1-8, the Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday, after Western countries threatened to bomb Syria again.

TASS cited the defence ministry as saying that 25 warships and submarines and 30 planes, including fighter jets and strategic bombers, would take part, and that the drills would involve anti-aircraft, anti-submarine and anti-mining exercises.

The United Nations calls on Russia, Iran and Turkey to forestall a battle in Syria's Idlib province that would affect millions of civilians and could see both militants and the government potentially using chlorine as a chemical weapon.

In Idlib, armed opposition factions blew up two bridges spanning the Orontes River on Friday in a bid to slow an advance by forces loyal to Assad, the Britain-based monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem in Moscow, Russia August 30, 2018.

While Turkey actively sponsors rebel forces in Idlib, its influence over the former Al-Qaeda affiliate is less clear and Abdel Rahman warned the chances of success were slim.

Turkey has intensified contacts with Russian Federation and Iran in recent days amid escalating tension over an impending military operation by the Syrian army into the rebel-held Idlib province of the war-torn country.

Signs of the buildup have been on display for weeks.

Now, Moscow and Damascus say the planning to fabricate a chemical attack or encourage rebels to execute one, as a pretext to launch renewed strikes against Assad's forces.

The UN and aid workers are bracing for disaster, warning that up to 800,000 people are in danger of renewed displacement if a government offensive gets underway.

The Ustinov evidently cruised southward after its English Channel passage and eventually slipped through the Strait of Gibraltar before making what Russian news reports this week described as a "business call" at the port of Algiers.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on August 30 said the hard situation in Syria justified the planned Russian naval drills in the Mediterranean.

He said any attack would receive a "strong response" from the USA, but added he had discussed the issue with Russian officials in direct talks.

Syria's government denies ever using chemical weapons and says it disposed of its stockpiles under an agreement brokered by the US and Russian Federation after the 2013 Ghouta attack.

And US National Security Advisor John Bolton last week said Russia-backed Syrian military may be preparing for another chemical attack.

"We have engaged the Russian Government and also the military at the most senior level".



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