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The New Arab

Russian 'ballistic missile' strikes hit rebel targets in Idlib

Russia says rebel groups launched weapons packed with "poisonous agent" on government-controlled areas [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 4 August, 2016

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Russian forces launched ballistic missiles targeting Jaish al-Islam sites in the Syrian province of Idlib, the Islamist group's spokesman told The New Arab on Thursday. No deaths were reported.
Russia used ballistic missiles in raids targeting Jaish al-Islam sites in the Syrian province of Idlib, the spokesman for Islamist rebel group said on Thursday.

"Russian occupying forces hit Jaish al-Islam sites using ballistic missiles," Islam Alloush told The New Arab; "the strikes caused a huge blast in locations hit."

"Losses were limited to material damage as no deaths or injuries were reported," he said, adding that the strikes were likely launched from the sea.

Moscow has designated Jaish al-Islam as a terrorist group but the rebel faction had been involved in UN-led Geneva negotiations for a peaceful settlement in Syria.

On Wednesday, Russia also accused Syrian rebels of using weapons loaded with "poisonous agent" in Aleppo, its defence ministry said on Wednesday.

Lieutenant-General Sergei Chvarkov was cited by Russia's TASS news agency as saying that the Nureddin al-Zenki rebel group on Tuesday launched weapons packed with an unnamed "poisonous agent" from an opposition-held neighbourhood to a government-controlled area of Aleppo.

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Chvarkov, the head of Russia's reconciliation centre in Syria, said that "as a result of this terrorist attack, seven people died and 23 were evacuated to hospitals in Aleppo with breathing problems and airway burns."

Syrian state media said on Tuesday that five people were killed and that eight others suffered injuries induced by suffocation after rebels fired rockets containing poison gases.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the toll from the rocket attack at six dead, saying the casualties were in fact soldiers.

The world's chemical watchdog on Wednesday voiced concerns over reports of the use of chlorine gas in Saraqib blamed on regime forces.

The incident in Saraqib took place close to where Russia said on Monday one of its military helicopters was shot down, killing the five people on board.

Chvarkov said meanwhile that 372 Syrian civilians have used the "humanitarian corridors" set up by Russia to flee rebel-held areas of Aleppo to government-controlled turf.

He also accused rebels of trying to prevent people from leaving the areas of the city under their control.

In a statement on Tuesday, 35 NGOs called the humanitarian corridors initiative "deeply flawed".

The UN says 300,000 civilians still live in rebel-held parts of Aleppo city, despite four years of fighting and near-daily bombing.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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