US conducts strike against al-Qaeda facility in Syria's Idlib

CAIRO, Amr Mostafa (dpa)- The US military confirmed that it conducted a strike against an al-Qaeda facility in Idlib in north-western Syria on Saturday, killing 40 jihadists according to a war monitor estimate.
US Central Command in a statement said the operation targeted al-Qaeda leaders responsible for "attacks threatening [US] citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians."

"Additionally, the removal of this facility will further degrade their ability to conduct future attacks and destabilize the region," it added.
Earlier in the day, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 40 jihadists were killed in missile attacks that targeted a meeting of an al-Qaeda-affiliated group in Idlib.  
The Britain-based watchdog said the strikes took place in the area between the towns of Kafarya and Ma'arrat Misrin and hit the Huras al-Din organizations and other allied jihadist groups, leaving 40 of them, including commanders, dead.
Calm had prevailed in Idlib as a ceasefire announced by Russia - Syria's strongest military ally - came into effect on Saturday morning, according to the observatory.
Moscow had called on rebel groups to observe the ceasefire, but they have not announced if they will comply.
Idlib is a largely opposition-held province near the Turkish border. The Turkish government, which has backed certain Syrian rebel groups, has condemned a recent Syrian state offensive in the region.
On April 30, the Syrian government, supported by Russian air power, began a massive military offensive against rebels in the provinces of Hama and Idlib, forcing thousands of people to flee.
A ceasefire in the region collapsed earlier this month.
Since then, the government forces have regained 66 regions in the southern countryside of Idlib and the northern rural areas of Hama which were under the control of rebels.
"Northwest Syria remains a safe haven where [al-Qaeda in Syria] leaders actively coordinate terrorist activities throughout the region and in the West. With our allies and partners, we will continue to target violent extremists to prevent them from using Syria as a safe haven,” US Central Command said.

Sunday, September 1st 2019
Amr Mostafa (dpa)

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