The Russian Defence Ministry has decried US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's assessment of Russia's operation in Syria, saying that it was hypocritical of him to refer to it as a 'large-scale attack on Idlib's innocent civilians'.
"As of the morning of 29 January, as a result of defensive actions and fightback, Syrian government forces near the Idlib de-escalation zone borders destroyed or captured eight "innocent" tanks, more than 15 "innocent" infantry combat vehicles, 49 "innocent" wagons with large-calibre weapons, eight "innocent" jihadi vehicles, four "innocent" UAVs and dozens of artillery-type weapons of various calibres", the official representative of the Russian defence ministry Igor Konashenkov told journalists on Wednesday.
Konashenkov also lamented the fact that the US Department of State has never publicly supported Russia's active fight against international terrorism.
"The State Department preaches and voices its concern about the alleged suffering of civilians only when terrorists suffer a crushing defeat and Syrian citizens are finally liberated", Konashenkov said.
He added that it hardly comes as a surprise that Washington gave tacit support to the coordinated offensive of the forces that Pompeo called 'civilians' but which had weapons and artillery belonging to Jabhat al-Nusra*.
"The State Department also published similar hypocritical tweets when Syrian cities that are now rebuilding themselves such as Aleppo, Palmyra, Hama, Homs, Douma, Dera'a, Suwayda, Quneitra and Deir ez-Zor were liberated, unlike Raqqa that was wiped off the map by US airstrikes", he concluded.
The Syrian military began a new military operation in Idlib - the last stronghold of terrorist militants in Syria, late last year. Damascus has declared that freeing the area is essential to put an end to the country's long, foreign-backed civil war.
*Jabhat al-Nusra (also known as Jabhat al-Nusra, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, or al-Qaeda in Syria) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia