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Russian Defense Ministry refutes allegations on airstrike on Syrian Idlib

May 31, 2016, 13:25 UTC+3

The Russian aviation has not delivered any airstrikes, the ministry says, commenting on Reuters report that Russia allegedly launched an airstrike on Syria’s city of Idlib, killing at least 23 people

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MOSCOW, May 31. /TASS/. The Russian aviation has not delivered any airstrikes in the Syrian Idlib province, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Tuesday.

Reuters reported earlier with reference to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that Russian Aerospace Force aircraft allegedly launched an airstrike on Syria’s city of Idlib, killing at least 23 people.

"The Russian aviation has not fulfilled any combat tasks, much less delivered any airstrikes in the Idlib province. We advise all to take a more critical attitude to any ‘horror stories’ issued by the ‘British tandem’ represented by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Reuters news agency," he said.

"As we presented to the world the objective monitoring data, fully disproving their previous fabrications - neither the Observatory nor the agency even tried to listen and much less publish a denial," the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said.

Russia’s Aerospace Forces started delivering pinpoint strikes in Syria at facilities of Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra on September 30, 2015, on a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad. On March 14, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to start, from March 15, withdrawing the main part of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ group from Syria. Putin said the tasks set before the military "have been fulfilled on the whole." Two Russian military facilities - at the Hmeimim aerodrome and in Tartus, are still operational in Syria. The Russian military continue to take an active part in the fight against terrorist groups. Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said strikes on terrorists will continue to be delivered.

A ceasefire brokered by Russia and the United States officially came into effect in Syria on February 27. This does not cover terrorist groups such as Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, both outlawed in Russia, and other groups recognized as terrorist by the United Nations Security Council.

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