On November 9 the Russian Ministry of Defense released a video, titled “strike on IS militants’ training camp in the Idlib Province.”
The video, filmed from the air, shows munitions striking a large building by the side of a road. The location of the footage can be confirmed by comparing the images with satellite photos on Google Earth.
The target of the strike appears to be a large agricultural building, located south of the rebel-held town of Saraqib, at the entrance to a grain storage facility. It is impossible to say whether the building was being used for any military purpose.
The Russian military does have a history of attacking food storage in Syria and subsequently labeling it as a legitimate military target. For example, in December, 2015, the Ministry of Defense released video of an attack on an “oil storage facility” which actually resembled a grain silo.
So the strike did indeed occur in Idlib, but the problem is that this area is not controlled by IS.
Kyle Orton, a Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society and an expert on the Syrian civil war, told Polygraph.info that several groups operate in the Saraqib area, primarily Ahrar al-Sham but also Jund al-Aqsa, a group which had pledged allegiance to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliate).
According to maps published by the Institute for the Study of War and the open-source liveuamap.com project, the nearest IS-held territory to Saraqib lies more than 70 kilometers to the northeast, on the other side of the city of Aleppo. Between rebel-held Idlib and the front line with IS, there is a significant swathe of territory controlled by the Assad regime and its allies.