Huge Russian Reinforcements for Idlib Battle
In light of the heavy strikes and shelling on Idlib's de-escalation zone in northwest Syria, two large Russian warships were seen on Friday making their way to the Port of Tartous, carrying military equipment.
Turkish maritime observer Yoruk Isik reported that the Russian warships, Ropucha class LSTM Tsezar Kunikov and the Ropucha class landing ship Azov 151, transited the Bosporus Strait en route to Tartous.
This military development came as remarks made by Russian President Vladimir Putin were seen as a sign of stepped up military operations. Putin said that Moscow has three priorities in Syria, including the fight against terrorism and extremism in Idlib.
Speaking at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, Putin said a political settlement is making progress and the constitutional committee is being formed, adding that priority lies in ensuring the total elimination of terrorist posts in Syria, primarily in Idlib.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that there was renewed escalation in the countryside of Hama and in Idlib, amid reports of dozens of airstrikes and shelling by regime warplanes on opposition posts.
The monitor said that regime and Russian strikes and shelling have killed at least 28 people including seven civilians in northwest Syria.
It added that 21 militants were also killed in the same region the same day.
The military escalation came despite Moscow’s announcement of a ceasefire with Turkey in the Idlib de-escalation zone as of midnight on June 12, after weeks of escalating rocket fire and air strikes by the Syrian regime and Russian forces.
On the other hand, the official Syrian news agency SANA said Friday that opposition factions had “violated” the truce in the zone by shelling safe areas in the countryside of Hama and Idlib.