IT'S ON: "Syrian Army Starts Anti-Terror Operation in Idlib – Reports"
Which reports, Sputnik? Nevermind. The SAA's Idlib Offensive has clearly begun -- and ahead of the rumored launch in September. As if they had a choice to move up the timetable. The bad guys have been murdering and kidnapping anyone in Idlib they even suspect is talking with Russian/ Syrian reconciliation teams. And from the report below, a few days ago they started shelling civilian populations inside the "de-escalation" zone.
In late July a military source told Sputnik that Syrian government forces were preparing for a large-scale offensive in the country's northwestern province of Idlib, which is currently home to "tens of thousands of terrorists," according to Syria's President Bashar Assad.
The Syrian Army has launched a series of shelling attacks on terrorist positions in Idlib province in the country's northeast, according to media reports.
The offensive was preceded by the Syrian military dropping leaflets urging jihadists to lay down arms and accept the government's requests.
"The war is nearing an end. … We are calling on you to join the local reconciliations, as many of our people in Syria did. Your cooperation with the Syrian Arab Army will release you from the rule of militants and terrorists, and will preserve you and your families' lives," the leaflets read.
The military operation came a few days after Maj. Gen. Alexei Tsygankov, the head of the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation, said that the militants operating in the Idlib de-escalation zone continued shelling settlements in Syria "over the past 24 hours."
Earlier, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that government troops continued to crack down on terrorists based in areas adjacent to the provinces of Hama and Suwayda in the country's west and southwest, respectively.
Late last month, Assad pointed out that the liberation of Idlib, which sits on the border with Turkey, was among the priorities for the Syrian military's operations.
Since 2017, the Idlib province has been included in the northern de-escalation zone created under the Astana reconciliation process. Most of the province is currently occupied by a disparate collection of militant groups, including al-Nusra Front [aka Al Qaeda and whatever other names the group uses in Syria].
With the liberation of broad areas of southern Syria earlier this month, Idlib has become one of the last anti-government strongholds in Syria.