USA must share its intelligence on Syria rebels, says Turkey

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov made the comments to reporters on a conference call while answering a question about planned Russian naval drills in the Mediterranean, an exercise he said the hard situation in Syria justified.

The ministry said the maneuvers will focus on antiaircraft, antisubmarine, and demining exercises.

Russia, an ally of Syria, has provided military assistance to Syrian dictator President Bashar al-Assad to reestablish power in the country after it faced violence from the Syrian Civil War beginning in 2011 and the growth of ISIS.

The explosions rocked the area in al-Ghab plains, south of idlib and came after rebels detected government troop movement in the area, according to Rami Abdurrahman, head of the war monitoring Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The drills were announced after North Atlantic Treaty Organisation reported a Russian naval buildup in the Mediterranean - part of what a Russian newspaper on Tuesday called Moscow's largest naval build-up since it entered the Syrian conflict in 2015.

Syrian rebel fighters (left) prepare in anticipation of an attack in the Idlib province on Thursday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking from Moscow after talks with his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Moualem, noted that Moscow would remain vigilant against any attempts by Washington or its allies to derail the retaking of Idlib. United Nations envoy Staffan de Mistura's comments prompted criticism from some who said evacuations were not a solution.

The UN envoy to Syria has warned of a "perfect storm" in north-west Syria if the government goes ahead with its threatened offensive against rebels. The boats are mostly smaller frigates, but Russian officials have described this as the largest naval presence they've had near Syria since 2015.

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About 2.7 million people live in Idlib, where an offensive would pose a grave humanitarian problem as there is no safe territory left in Syria for residents to flee to.

They said the planned drills were justified given the escalating situation in Syria's Idlib province.

The drills were announced after North Atlantic Treaty Organisation reported a Russian naval buildup in the Mediterranean.

Now, Moscow and Damascus say the U.S.is planning to fabricate a chemical attack or encourage rebels to execute one, as a pretext to launch renewed strikes against Assad's forces.

Since April 2017, the administration has twice authorized American strikes targeting Syrian forces in response to chemical weapons attacks that USA officials blamed on the Assad regime.

He noted that the exercises of the grouping of forces of the Russian Navy and Aerospace Forces at the Mediterranean Sea will be held for the first time in the modern history of Russia.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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