Russian air strikes have targeted rebel-held areas in northwest Syria for a second day.

Russia claims to have hit 12 Islamic State positions in the past 24 hours, but for the second day the air strikes have hit areas held by rebels with no affiliation with the terror group.

A number of strikes hit areas in the Idlib province near Kafr Nabl (also know as Kafranabel), an area held by anti-Assad rebels since the early months of the ongoing civil war. Other areas targeted included the strategic town of Jisr al-Shughour and areas in Hama province.

The groups in control of these areas come under the banner of Jaysh al-Fatah (“Army of Conquest”), an alliance which includes both moderate rebel groups backed by the US and other jihadist elements including the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra.

The US fears that rather than joining the international fight against IS, Russian involvement in the war is more to prop up the government of Russian ally Bashar al-Assad.

Discussions to bring about an end to the conflict are currently at a stalemate, with Russia pushing for a role for Assad in the post-conflict Syria, while the US, UK, and their allies have accused the Syrian President of war crimes against his own people and want to see him removed form power.

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