Russian air strikes kill 10 civilians in Syria's Idlib: monitor

Air strikes by regime ally Russia killed 10 civilians in the region of Idlib in northwestern Syria Friday, a war monitor said. (File/AFP)
Updated 26 April 2019
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Russian air strikes kill 10 civilians in Syria's Idlib: monitor

BEIRUT: Air strikes by regime ally Russia killed 10 civilians in the rebel-held region of Idlib in northwestern Syria Friday, a war monitor said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said those killed included two children.
The raids took the lives of three civilians including a boy on the outskirts of the town of Kafranbel, and seven including a girl in the town of Tal Hawash, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.
Russia and rebel-backer Turkey in September inked a buffer zone deal to prevent a massive regime offensive on the Idlib region, near the Turkish border.
But the region of some three million people has come under increasing bombardment since former Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham took full control of it in January.
The latest air raids came as two days of talks on ending the war in Syria -sponsored by Russia, fellow regime ally Iran, and rebel backer Turkey - concluded in Kazakhstan.
In a statement released by the three countries after the meeting, they expressed concern about HTS extending its influence in Idlib.
They stressed their "determination to continue cooperation in order to ultimately eliminate" HTS and Daesh, the statement said.
Syria's war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since the conflict began with the repression of anti-government protests in 2011.


UK to send third warship to Gulf

Updated 36 sec ago
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UK to send third warship to Gulf

  • HMS Kent will take over from HMS Duncan later this year
  • Last week a Navy ship warned off Iranian gunboats that were trying to “impede” the progress of a British supertanker

LONDON: Britain will send a third Royal Navy warship to the Gulf, the defense ministry announced Tuesday, while insisting that it did not “reflect an escalation” of tensions with Iran in the region.
Britain has already sent the HMS Duncan, an air defense destroyer, to cover for frigate HMS Montrose while it undergoes maintenance in nearby Bahrain, and will also send frigate HMS Kent “later this year.”
Reports said it would head to the Gulf in mid-September.
HMS Montrose last week warned off three Iranian gunboats that UK officials said were trying to “impede” the progress of a British supertanker through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf.
The defense ministry said the HMS Kent would be “taking over” from HMS Duncan, but added that an “occasional overlap of ships when one deployment begins and another ends... is not uncommon,” suggesting that all three could be in the region at some point.
The ministry said the deployments were “long-planned” to ensure “an unbroken presence” in the crucial waterway and “do not reflect an escalation in the UK posture in the region.”
Iranian officials have denied last Wednesday’s incident in the Strait of Hormuz ever happened.
The British government has in any case raised the alert level for ships traveling through Iranian waters to three on a three-point scale, indicating a “critical” threat.
HMS Duncan is an air defense destroyer that carries a set of heavy Harpoon anti-ship missiles and has a company and crew in excess of 280.
Tensions have been escalating in the region for weeks, with US President Donald Trump last month calling off at the last minute an air strike on Iran over its downing of a US spy drone.
The Strait of Hormuz episode occurred a week after UK Royal Marines helped the Gibraltar authorities detain an Iranian tanker that US officials believe was trying to deliver oil to Syria in violation of separate sets of EU and US sanctions.
Iran has bristled at the arrest and issued a series of increasingly ominous warnings to both the United States and Britain about its right to take unspecified actions in reprisal.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt sought to ease tensions on Monday by saying the tanker would be released if Tehran guaranteed it was not heading to Syria.