Syria war: 'Russian strikes' target Idlib as offensive looms

Russian war planes have launched fresh strikes on the Syrian province of Idlib, a monitor says, as talks in Tehran failed to stop an impending military offensive there.

The raids targeted rebel-held positions in Idlib’s south-west, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Syrian forces, backed by Russia and Iran, are poised to attack the last major rebel stronghold in Syria.

Turkey and others have warned of a pending humanitarian disaster.

In the province itself, thousands of people staged street protests after Friday prayers calling for international protection.

In footage circulating on social media, one protester in the town of Al-Dana said they were demanding that the UN “stop the killing of Syrians”.

What is the latest military action?

The observatory said Russian jets hit positions of the jihadist alliance Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and the Ahrar al-Sham group on Friday.

“The aim was to destroy rebel fortifications,” observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

HTS is designated by the UN as a terrorist group and has an estimated 10,000 fighters in Idlib.

Media captionThe war in Syria could be about to enter its final stage

Earlier in the week, Russian jets were reported to have carried out about 30 strikes on rebel-held areas in western Idlib, the mountains of Latakia province, and the Sahl al-Ghab plain.

Syrian army soldiers and allied militiamen are…

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