The Ministry of Defence in Moscow has denied media reports claiming that it has deployed Special Forces in recent days to fight alongside Syrian army troops in the province of Idlib. The ministry described reports published by Reuters claiming that Russian ground forces and Special Forces have joined the Syrian army in the attack as “mere fabrications”.
Earlier, Reuters quoted Captain Naji Mustafa, spokesman for the National Liberation Front (NLF) coalition of rebel factions, as saying that the Russian forces “are now present in the battlefield. The Russians are intervening directly now.”
Meanwhile, the Syrian response coordinator’s team said that as many as 967 civilians, including more than 270 children, have been killed in the Syrian regime’s ongoing attacks on Idlib.
In mid-September 2017, the guarantors of the Astana process — Turkey, Russia and Iran — agreed to establish a de-escalation zone in Idlib and its surrounding areas. The region currently has a population of about 4 million civilians, including hundreds of thousands of people displaced as a result of the Syrian regime attacks.