WASHINGTON, August 31. /TASS/. The United States has confirmed a strike had been conducted against the al-Qaeda terrorist group (outlawed in Russia) outside the Syrian city of Idlib on Saturday.
"This operation targeted AQ-S leaders responsible for attacks threatening US citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians," Lieutenant Colonel Earl Brown, a US Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesman, told TASS.
According to Brown, the strike targeted a facility located north of Idlib.
"Additionally, the removal of this facility will further degrade their ability to conduct future attacks and destabilize the region," he said.
He pointed out that "Northwest Syria remains a safe haven where" militants "actively coordinate terrorist activities throughout the region and in the West."
"With our allies and partners, we will continue to target violent extremists to prevent them from using Syria as a safe haven," he added.
Earlier in the day, Al Mayadeen television channel reported that the US-led coalition fired missiles at the Horas al-Din extremist group’s headquarters located outside Idlib. The channel said that more than 40 militants and field commanders were killed in the strike.
A ceasefire came into force in Idlib at six in the morning. The Syrian army’s command warned on Saturday that having agreed to a ceasefire, they retained the right to retaliate to any ceasefire violation by terrorists. The republic’s Armed Forces stopped fighting unilaterally in Idlib on August 2. However, after the militants had breached the ceasefire, the troops resumed hostilities on August 5.
Idlib is the only large Syrian region that is still controlled by illegal armed groups. The Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group (banned in Russia) has mostly control over the region. A northern de-escalation zone was set up in Idlib in 2017 to give shelter to militants and their families who are reluctant to surrender arms voluntarily. The zone covers the Idlib governorate and adjacent areas of Aleppo and Hama governorates.