Russian air force Su-24 conducts rocket attack (Source: Getty Images).

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:41 A.M.) – Over the last several hours, Russian warplanes have been in the midst of a major bombardment operation against Islamist forces across Idlib province’s northern countryside.

The strike mission by Russian airpower is reportedly targeting artillery units and fighter gatherings of Al-Qaeda affiliate group Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (better known by its former name Jabhat al-Nusra).

For almost one week now, Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham has been attacking the besieged Shiite-majority towns of Fouaa and Kafrayah (just north of Idlib city) with mortars and rockets as part of a retaliation operation in response to the Syrian Army’s East Ghouta offensive; Russian jets are attempting to suppress these sources of militant artillery fire.

Militant activists in Idlib’s northern countryside report Russian airstrikes in and near the jihadist-held towns of Binnish (known to be a location for insurgent artillery positions), Taftanaz and Maraat Misrin – all are located within several kilometers of Fouaa and Kafrayah.

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