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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russian jets target cement factory, energy supplies in northwestern Syria

Russian strikes have targeted oil facilities in northwestern Syria [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 March, 2021

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Syrian rebel forces say Russia is attempting to destabilise economic activity in their last stronghold.

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Syria, Russia.

Russian military jets targeted a cement factory and rebel-held towns and cities in northwestern Syria on Sunday, witnesses and rebel sources said.

The strikes came as Syrian regime forces killed seven civilians and injured 14 medical workers at a hospital in the same region near the Turkish border.

"The Russian aerial strikes are continuing. Ballistic missiles have also hit areas close to civilian centres," Major Youssef Hamoud, a spokesman for the Turkish-backed National Army rebel alliance, told Reuters. "They seek to sow chaos and confusion," he added.

Hammoud said the Russian strikes aim to weaken Syria's last rebel stronghold of Idlib by disrupting commercial activities.

Suspected Russian and regime airstrikes also struck a gas facility near Sarmada city, setting dozens of trailers carrying goods ablaze.

Earlier this month, a Russian ballistic missile strike set dozens of oil refineries ablaze near the towns of Al-Bab and Jarablus, according to Western intelligence sources cited by Reuters.

Oil facilities in the area provide vital fuel supplies for around 4 million people in the region.

Turkey’s defence ministry acknowledged in a statement that strikes had targeted oil facilities. Ankara said it had urged Moscow to cease the attacks immediately.

Syria's war has killed more than 388,000 people and displaced millions of Syrians inside the country and abroad.

Backed by Russia and Iran, President Bashar al-Assad is back in control of more than 60 percent of the country after a string of victories against opposition forces.

Fighting in Idlib, the rebels' last stronghold, has largely subsided following a deal that ended a punishing Russian-led bombing campaign last year which displaced more than 1 million people.


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