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Moscow Plans to Advance in Idlib on Eve of Astana Talks

Moscow Plans to Advance in Idlib on Eve of Astana Talks

Thursday, 1 August, 2019 - 07:15
Syrian regime representatives and opposition delegates along with other attendees take part in Syria peace talks in Astana on December 22, 2017. AFP file photo

Syrian regime forces intensified their bombing of areas in northwestern Syria as Russia introduced its special forces to make advances at any cost in the countryside of Latakia on the eve of the Astana meetings.

The Assad regime’s move came after the Syrian opposition announced foiling two attacks in the countryside of Hama and Latakia provinces last Tuesday.

The special Russian forces admitted on Wednesday taking part in the attacks on the countryside of Latakia.

“Our air forces effectively support the infantry units, and already offered more than 100 air sorties in the direction of the hills of Kabihah,” the Russian forces posted on social media.

The Russian military also said that its highly trained infantry units plan to advance on the hills at any cost.

Last April 30, Syrian government forces backed by allied militia and Russian air power launched an offensive against opposition factions in northwestern Idlib province, as well as parts of the neighboring provinces of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia.

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 2,860 people have been killed in the fighting since late April, including more than 824 civilians, around 1,000 opposition fighters, and more than 900 members of regime forces.

This came one day before the launch of the 13th round of the Astana Process of Syrian peace talks, which will take place Aug. 1-2 in Nur-Sultan, amid low expectations of any progress.

Lebanon and Iraq are invited to attend for the first time as observers.

Meanwhile, reports saying that the UN Secretary-General's Syria envoy, Geir Pedersen, is not going to attend the talks in Nur-Sultan, have limited chances for announcing the Constitutional Committee for Syria.

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