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Russia shrugs off Trump's criticism on Syria

June 3, 2019

The Kremlin said Russian forces were working to "neutralize" terrorists after the US president issued a warning over airstrikes on Idlib. Syrian forces are continuing their attacks on the enclave.

Explosions in Idlib
Image: AFP/A. Al-Dyab

Russia confirmed Monday it was bombing targets in the Syrian rebel enclave of Idlib , but rebuffed accusations made by US President Donald Trump they were "indiscriminately killing many innocent civilians."

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Russian forces were targeting "terrorists and militants" in northwest Syria.

Peskov said that the jihadists had attacked civilian targets and Russian military objects.

"Terrorist fire from Idlib is unacceptable and measures are being taken to neutralize these firing positions," he said.

On Sunday, Trump had urged Russia and its allies to stop their airstrikes.

"Hearing word that Russia, Syria and, to a lesser extent, Iran, are bombing the hell out of Idlib Province in Syria, and indiscriminately killing many innocent civilians," Trump wrote on Twitter. "The World is watching this butchery. What is the purpose, what will it get you? STOP!"

Read more: US warns Syria over suspected chemical weapons attack

The rebel enclave of Idlib is controlled by Tahrir al-Sham, the latest iteration of the Nusra Front, a former al-Qaida affiliate. It is also a home for nearly three million civilians.

Syrian government forces, which are allied with Russia, continued airstrikes on Idlib on Monday, with at least six civilians losing their lives. Syrian forces also clashed with jihadists in the neighboring Latakia province.

Trump's criticism of Russia and its allies came after Israel reportedly conducted a series of strikes against pro-government forces in Syria over the weekend.

dj/rt (AFP, Reuters, Interfax)

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