Russia Accuses Rebels of Attempting to Invade Homs and Latakia Governorates

“Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham” checkpoint in the city of Sarmin, eastern rural Idlib – July 16 (Ebaa)

“Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham” checkpoint in the city of Sarmin, eastern rural Idlib – July 16 (Ebaa)

Russia has accused opposition military factions in Idlib Governorate of trying to invade nearby Homs and Latakia using suicide attackers and remotely-controlled drones.
The head of Russia’s “Reconciliation Centre”, General Alexi Tzighanov, said on Saturday 21 July that militants from Idlib were trying to launch raids in part of northern Homs with suicide bombers and drones loaded with explosives.
In a statement cited by Russian media, Tzighanov added that “it has become a source of concern that in Idlib, where illegal militant groups affiliated to Jabhat al-Nusra are known to be active, attempts have been made for suicide attackers to breach Homs Governorate”.
Russia’s accusations are being made amid reports that Assad’s forces – supported by the Russian military – are to begin a military operation in Idlib in the Jisr al-Shughour region and areas included within the “de-escalation” agreement.
Since the Syrian government’s declaration of control over the northern Homs region there have not been any instances of attacks by rebel forces. This has been reinforced by the regime’s full control over Syria’s central region.
According to the Russian general, militant groups belonging to “Jabhat al-Nusra” (which was recently dissolved, becoming Tahrir al-Sham) have tried to attack regime positions in Latakia. Drones have also been launched into this governorate loaded with explosives.
Russia’s Kheimim air base has come under attacks from remotely-controlled drones on several occasions over recent years. No major faction has claimed responsibility.
The accusations directed toward groups based in Idlib area are part of a policy used by Russia in more than one region. This has involved the negation of the de-escalation agreement which particular governorates have been included within, with military action being initiated on the pretext that the agreement has been violated.
The fate that awaits Idlib Governorate has remained unclear until the present, with Turkey continuing to reinforce the observation checkpoints which it has established over recent months. Turkey now has personnel deployed at 12 checkpoints in the Idlib region.

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