The Russian military has denied claims that scores of refugees are fleeing Syria’s Idlib province and moving towards the Turkish border due to battles between the Syrian Army and terrorists in the area.
“There are no verifiable photos and videos, or any other data to confirm the statements that ‘around a million’ refugees are supposedly moving from the Idlib de-escalation zone,” the head of Russia’s Reconciliation Center for Syria, Rear Admiral Oleg Zhuravlyov, said in a statement.
The information alleging that ‘hundreds of thousands’ of civilians are heading for the Syrian-Turkish border because of battles between terrorists and Syrian government troops in the east of the province [Idlib] is not true.
The official added that terrorists are using civilians as human shields, preventing them from leaving the combat zone through the three humanitarian corridors set up by the Reconciliation Center in the Idlib, Aleppo, and Hama provinces.
The situation in Idlib flared up in recent weeks, with the Syrian Army making advances against terrorists and militants, some of which are backed by Turkey. The anti-government forces launched a counteroffensive on Thursday, which was beaten back with the help of Russian airstrikes.
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Damascus says its troops are conducting operations against terrorists that carry out attacks on Syrian personnel and civilians. Ankara, which backs some of the militants in Idlib, said that a Turkish invasion of the area is “imminent” and accused the Syrian Army of shelling its troops.
Russia insisted that a shelling incident in Syria, in which Ankara claims several of its soldiers were killed, was due to the failure of the Turkish side to warn of troop movements. Moscow also accused Turkey of failing on its promise to clear the ‘de-escalation zone’ of jihadist groups.
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