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Russia & Syria Prepare For Idlib Battle With Joint Military Exercises

Military exercises

Russia and Syria are getting ready to fight Syrian opposition groups.

A security source told AFP  that for the past fortnight Russian and Syrian forces have been holding joint military exercises in Syria’s Latakia province in preparation for a battle in the neighbouring rebel held Idlib.

Yahoo News reports:

The exercises were being conducted in an area of Latakia with similar terrain to Idlib province, which is held by a coalition of rebels known as the Army of Conquest.

“In the next stage, Idlib will become the major destination and most important target of joint Russian-Syrian military operations,” the source said.

The source said Idlib was now home to the largest number of rebel movements, excluding the Islamic State group, anywhere in the country.

The Army of Conquest, which includes Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front, wrested control of the entire province in northwestern Syria earlier this year, dealing a serious strategic and psychological blow to the regime.

Staunch government ally Moscow began an aerial bombing campaign in support of regime forces on September 30, saying it was targeting IS and other extremist groups.

But rebels from other groups accuse Russia of focusing its firepower more on moderate and Islamist opposition fighters than IS.