Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has acknowledged the presence of Russian soldiers fighting alongside Assad’s forces in the Idleb battles.
On Tuesday, Lavrov said during a press conference he held after meeting Ghana’s Foreign Minister Shirley Botchway that, “There are Russian soldiers on the ground in the Syrian province of Idleb,” adding that his country would repel any attack on Russian soldiers in Syria.
This is considered to be the first open statement from Russia about the presence of its fighters on the ground in Idleb during the military campaign that was waged by the Syrian regime with Russian backing in the northern Hama countryside and the southern Idleb countryside last April.
Russia has acknowledged its support for the Syrian regime politically and militarily since September 2015, when Moscow announced their military intervention in Syria at the request of the Assad regime, which tipped the scales in their favor after the intervention.
The Russian Air Force has also supported Assad’s forces in the Hama and Idleb countrysides throughout the recent military campaign, which has seen the regime advance and take control over various villages and town in the region.
The Russian Foreign Minister’s statement coincides with the advance of Assad’s forces in Khan Sheikhoun in the southern Idleb countryside, with opposition fighters withdrawing from the city and Assad’s forces entering after pursuing a scorched earth policy with hundreds of air and rocket strikes.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.