Syrian government and Russian warplanes on Saturday targeted the southern edge of Idlib province with an intense wave of airstrikes and shelling, activists and a war monitoring group said, ratcheting up the military pressure on the densely populated rebel-held bastion. The intense air raids came a day after Iran and Russia backed a military campaign in the rebel-held area despite Turkey's pleas for a cease-fire, per the AP. Turkey has troops and 12 observations points that ring Idlib, which the BBC notes is the Syrian opposition's last big stronghold. The raids also come after President Trump warned Syria, Russia and their ally Iran they'd be making a "grave mistake" by attacking Idlib.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported more than 30 air raids Saturday on a number of towns and villages in southwestern Idlib and Hama province. The area, which has been targeted over the last few days, overlooks government-controlled areas. The intense raids forced schools to close in Khan Sheikhoun, an area under attack, according to the Observatory. The local council of Morek, a town that serves as a crossing between Hama and Idlib, sent an urgent appeal, asking Turkey for a quick solution. "We need a quick solution or our town will burn!" the official pleaded in an audio recording shared on social media groups.
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