Russia will continue to kill "terrorists" in Idlib and elsewhere in Syria to bring back peace, the foreign ministry said Thursday.
"We have killed, we are killing and we will kill terrorists...whether that be in Aleppo, Idlib or other parts of Syria. Peace must return to Syria," said spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in comments reported by Russian agencies.
"This is a question of our security," she added.
Idlib, Syria's last major rebel stronghold, is held by a complex array of anti-regime fighters, many of whom have been blacklisted as "terrorists" by world powers.
Sporadic bombardment has targeted armed groups on Idlib's fringes in recent days, with fresh Syrian artillery and Russian air bombardment of the southeast of the province on Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The attacks have prompted terrified residents to flee before a fully-fledged assault is launched, the monitor said.
The Russian military has confirmed airstrikes have been carried out on the area with warplanes targeting the "terrorist" Al-Nusra Front.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory said at least nine civilians, including five children from the same family, were killed in Russian raids Tuesday, while 10 more people were wounded.