Russian Airstrikes in Syria: September 30, 2015
Posted 9/30/2015 8:52am (EDT): An alleged Russian airstrike hit the rebel-held town of Talbisah north of Homs City. Talbisah is home to Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, hardline Islamist Ahrar al-Sham, and a number of other local rebel groups, all of which are active in local governance efforts in the area. Both Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) have claimed a number of vehicle-borne IEDs (VBIEDs) in Homs City, located only 12 kilometers south of Talbisah. Following reports of U.S. and Turkish efforts to establish an ISIS "free zone" in the northern Aleppo countryside, JN withdrew from the border and reportedly reinforced positions in this rebel-held pocket north of Homs city. Notably, the airstrike did not hit ISIS militants and rather resulted in 33 civilian casualties. If confirmed, the airstrike would signal Russian intent to assist in the Syrian regime's war effort at large, rather than securing the regime's coastal heartland of Latakia and Tartous.