BEIRUT: Russian and Syrian jets hammered a major rebel stronghold yesterday, a war monitor said, days before leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey meet to discuss an expected Syrian government offensive that could spark a humanitarian disaster.
The warplanes bombarded countryside around Jisr Al Shughour on the western edge of the rebel enclave of Idlib after weeks of lull, killing 13 civilians but no fighters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and a rebel source.
For President Bashar Al Assad, the defeat of rebels in the northwestern province would mean breaking the last major stronghold of active military opposition to his rule, though other large areas also remain beyond his control.
Meanwhile, Israeli officials said their country carried out more than 200 attacks against Iranian targets in Syria in the last two years. Israel began carrying out military strikes in 2013 against suspected arms transfers and deployments by Iranian forces and Hizbollah.