MOSCOW, September 13. /TASS/. Terrorists active in the Syrian province of Idlib are getting ready for a long-term defensive, eliminating militants willing to join the ceasefire, and are also making preparations for an offensive against the cities of Aleppo and Hama, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.
"Tensions have been rising in Syria and around it. The situation on the ground is the most complicated in the province of Idlib, where tensions are escalating because of a great number of active terrorists," she said. "Militants are centralizing efforts to prepare for a long-term offensive, eliminating the leaders of opposition units and getting ready for offensives against the cities of Aleppo and Hama," Zakharova added.
Idlib is the only Syrian province still controlled by illegal armed groups. In 2017, a de-escalation zone was established in the region, where militants reluctant to lay down their arms can move together with their families. According to United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, Idlib currently hosts about 10,000 militants from the Jabhat al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda terror groups (both outlawed in Russia).
In case Damascus succeeds in restoring control over Idlib, it will bring large-scale military activities in Syria to an end.