MOSCOW, February 24. /TASS/. Militants of the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group (banned in Russia) have opened fire against the Serakab checkpoint in Idlib, forcing its personnel to evacuate, Vyacheslav Sytnik, a deputy chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Parties in Syria, said at a briefing on Wednesday.
"On February 24, militants of the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group opened mortar fire on the Serakab checkpoint and delivered a strike with the use of an improvised unmanned aerial vehicle," Sytnik said.
According to Sytnik, the command of the Russian group decided to evacuate the checkpoint’s administrative personnel. Sytnik did not specify if there were any casualties. He again urged the command of the Turkish forces controlling Syria’s northwest to ensure security of civilians wishing to pass through checkpoints.
Sytnik earlier said that militants forbid Syrian civilians to flee the Idlib de-escalation zone and the areas controlled by the Turkish Armed Forces through the opened checkpoints. He recalled that the Serakab, Miznaz and Abu Azeydin checkpoints opened on February 22 so that Syrian civilians were able to leave the Idlib de-escalation zone and the areas controlled by the Turkish forces. Nevertheless, radical armed groups have blocked the checkpoints and barred local residents from going into the Syrian government-controlled areas, threatening to use weapons or to arrest them, he said.
On Wednesday, SANA reported that the terrorist group opened mortar fire against the Tronba-Saraqib humanitarian corridor. According to the news agency, the shelling was undertaken to "prevent the exit of the civilian population from the areas controlled by bandit detachments." There were no reports of casualties, it said.
The Russian reconciliation center continues to fulfill assigned tasks after the completion of the military campaign in Syria. The center’s officers regularly travel around the country's liberated areas to assess the humanitarian situation. The main efforts of the Russian military are now focused on assistance to the refugees returning to their homes and evacuation of civilians from de-escalation zones.
On December 29, 2014, Russia’s Supreme Court ruled to recognize the Jabhat al-Nusra jihadist group as a terrorist organization. It is outlawed in Russia.