MOSCOW, May 23. /TASS/. The United States’ authorities initiated a campaign to blame Russia for strikes against civilian facilities in Syria’s Idlib province, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
The statement comes after the May 6 publication in the Washington Post newspaper that accused the Russian and Syrian military of allegedly carrying out deliberate airstrikes against hospitals and other civilian infrastructure facilities in Idlib.
"We think that the misinformation campaign that we see now was launched by the official US authorities. That’s because it’s beneficial for Washington to keep intact the so-called Idlib territorial enclave," the statement said.
According to the ministry, the authors of this publication say "no word about the real reason behind all troubles in the Syrian Idlib province, where power has been seized by international terrorists recognized as so by the UN Security Council and also the US national legislation."
The goal of this information campaign is to artificially stonewall the process of clamping down on international terrorists in Syria and also delay armed confrontation, the statement says.
So, this serves as a pretext to keep US military presence in Syria, which prevents the Syrian authorities’ access to rich natural resources of Trans-Euphrates and creates an obstacle for free movement of people and goods via the international highway Damascus-Baghdad, which goes through Al Tanf area currently occupied by the US, according to the ministry.
On September 17, 2018 in Sochi Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan decided to create a 15-20 km deep demilitarized zone in Idlib along the contact line between the Syrian government forces and the armed opposition. In early May, Head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Sides in Syria Major General Viktor Kupchishin said that militant units in the southern Idlib de-escalation zone were concentrated under the command of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham terrorist group (former Jabhat al-Nusra, banned in Russia). He did not rule out their offensive against Hama. According to the general, the militants shelled twice per day Russia’s Hmeymim airbase. Both times the fire was opened from Zawiya, located in the Idlib de-escalation zone. The SANA news agency reported that Syria’s artillery and aviation had carried out strikes on the bases of militants shelling Hama.