Russia Resumes Air Strikes in Syria
- The Moscow Times
- Feb. 29 2016 12:10
- Last edited 12:10
A series of salvos ruptured Syria's partial cease-fire on Sunday, with Russia reportedly resuming its air strikes on rebel territories, while also accusing Turkey of firing artillery rounds at a Kurdish-controlled Syrian region from across the border, news reports said.
Syrian opposition group the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) registered 15 cease-fire violations by forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad — who has Russia's backing — but said despite the occasional violence “here and there” the truce has brought relative calm, BBC reported Sunday.
Some Syrian activists say Russia's air strikes in the north, near Aleppo, targeted al-Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front, the report said. Nusra Front is among the “terrorist” groups that are excluded from the cessation of hostilities agreement.
Russian bombers struck six towns and villages in Aleppo, Hama and Idlib provinces early Sunday, The Washington Post reported, citing monitoring and civil defense groups.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last week Russia would continue with strikes against terrorist groups, the TASS news agency reported at the time. Bombing groups designated as terrorist under the truce — such as Nusra Front or Islamic State — would not be a breach of the partial cease-fire agreement.
Russian military officials on Sunday accused Turkey of striking Tell Abyad — a northern Syrian town on the Turkish-Syrian border, and one that has been controlled by Kurdish rebels, Russian media reported Sunday.
Lieutenant General Sergei Kuralenko, who heads a Russian office in Syria to monitor the cease-fire, said military units advanced into Tell Abyad from Turkish territory early Sunday, while artillery provided covering fire, TASS reported.
The head of the Syrian Kurds' representative office in Moscow, Rodi Osman, said Turkish forces opened fire in Kurdish-controlled towns in Syria, including Tell Abyad, the Interfax news agency reported Sunday.
Islamic State is a terrorist group banned in Russia.