Militants started the siege of Foah and Kafraya in 2012 and the humanitarian situation in the two Idlib province towns remains dire. The province is still predominantly in the hands of Jabhat Fatah Al-Sham, formerly known as the Nusra Front. Foah and Kafraya are located in the only government-held pocket in a vast militant-controlled area.
Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011, with government forces fighting the Syrian opposition groups striving to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad. Damascus is also fighting numerous extremist and terrorist groups such as the Nusra Front and the Islamic State (IS), both outlawed in Russia. According to the United Nations, 300,000 Syrians died since the beginning of the conflict.