Warplanes Reportedly Strike Syria's Rebel-held Idlib Region

The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said warplanes, which it believed were Russian, struck the southern countryside of Idlib

Mural depicting the Syrian President Bashar Assad (C), his father late Syrian President Hafez Assad (L), and his dead brother Bassel Assad, outside a military base in Homs, Syria. July 17, 2018
Hassan Ammar/AP

 Air strikes hit parts of the Idlib region in northwest Syria, the country's last major insurgent stronghold, a war monitoring group and a rescue service said on Thursday.

There was no immediate comment from Damascus or Moscow. Both say they target only militants.

The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said warplanes, which it believed were Russian, struck the southern countryside of Idlib and a village in nearby Hama province.

>>'Israel strikes Iranian, Assad regime targets' in Syria ■ Syria, Turkey, Russia and U.S. to square off in Idlib with millions of civilians in the crosshairs | Explained ■ A massacre waiting to happen: For Syria's Idlib, diplomacy may come too late | Analysis 

The Civil Defence, an emergency service that operates in rebel territory, said air strikes damaged its centre in the village of al-Tamanaa in Idlib.

France's top military official said his forces were prepared to strike Syrian government targets if chemical weapons were used in an expected army offensive to retake Idlib.