Russian warplanes bomb Idlib water station
Russian warplanes are reported to have carried out an air-raid on the main water pumping station for the city Idlib, capital of the besieged province of that name in Syria's north. Witnesses on the ground said Russian Sukhoi jets dropped bombs on the water plant as well as several towns outside the provincial capital on Jan. 2. UN humanitarian official Mark Cutts acknowledged the air-raid without naming the perpetrators, tweeting: "The country is already facing a water crisis & continued destruction of civilian infrastructure will only cause more suffering of civilians." Abu Hazem Idlibi, an official in the opposition administration of the city, said the plant is now out of operation, charging: "The Russians are focusing on infrastructure and economic assets. This is to add to the suffering of people."
There was no immediate comment from Russia or the Syrian military, which says it targets strongholds of rebel groups who control the region but denies any attacks on civilians. (EA Worldview, TRT World)
Israel on Dec. 28 resumed its sporadic air-strikes on Syria, bombing presumed Hezbollah-controlled facilities in the port of Latakia, causing a fire that burned for hours. Local Syrians took to social media to express anger at Russia for allowing the strike to happen. (EA Worldview, Maritime Executive) Russia largely controls Syria's air-defense forces and has been suspected of giving Israel a free hand to strike Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed forces in the country.