Syrian government warplanes and helicopters launched airstrikes on parts of Aleppo, Hama, and Idlib provinces on Friday, August 10, potentially presaging an impending offensive on the last major rebel-held areas in Syria located in the country's northwest. The government strikes marked the heaviest bombardment of the area in months. According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), dozens of civilians were killed by government airstrikes in Aleppo and Idlib provinces, including at least 41 people in Urem Al-Kubra (Aleppo province).
Before Friday's bombardment, Syrian government forces reportedly deployed reinforcements to Hama, Idlib, and Latakia provinces; also notably, on Thursday, August 9, regime forces dropped leaflets over Idlib province, cautioning residents that the civil war will soon end and advising them to submit to government rule. A Syrian government offensive on remaining rebel-held positions in the northwest of the country is likely in the coming weeks.
These recent moves may signal that the Syrian government has shifted its focus to recapturing the northwest of the country after regime and allied forces completed an offensive against opposition groups in the country's southwest and seized full control of the region on July 31.
Today, the conflict in Syria involves many parties, including the Syrian government, the Russian government, the Iranian government, the Turkish government, a US-led coalition, and numerous armed groups on the ground (including the Islamic State) with competing goals.
Due to extremely poor security conditions, Western governments generally advise against all travel to Syria, with some banning travel to the country. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to any travel to Syria.
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