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They are now reportedly fighting to take the last few villages Islamic State holds along the Euphrates River in Syria, close to the border with Iraq, and has detained more foreign fighters.
He said that a Russian military plane had been shot down by anti-aircraft systems near Syria's coast because Russian-Israeli agreements on the prevention of dangerous incidents were not observed.
There was no immediate word from Damascus, but the deadly air war sequence started when Israeli missiles struck the coastal region of Latakia on Monday.
The aircraft was shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft systems but Moscow said Israeli air force jets flying in the same area had put the Russian plane in the line of fire.
The ministry accused the Israeli army of "intentional provocation" and said Israel did not warn Russia of its operation in the area until one minute before the strike.
Syrian state television broadcast footage of voters around Damascus and in the coastal government bastions of Tartus and Latakia dropping their ballots into plastic boxes.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the extremists took advantage of a sandstorm to launch a counterattack, which killed 20 fighters and wounded others.
Turkey has intensified negotiations with Russia to avert a possible attack, repeatedly calling for a ceasefire.
It said Bogana -- an Italian citizen known also as Abu Hureyre al-Muhajir or Abu Abdullah al-Muhajir -- was responsible for weapons shipments to IS.
The Britain-based war monitor did not immediately report any casualties from the bombardment which came after shelling and air strikes killed at least 15 civilians in the rebel zone since September 4.
President Bashar al-Assad has now set his sights on Idlib, and his forces have stepped up bombardment of the densely populated province since the beginning of the month.
Since 2015, Idlib has been home to a complex array of anti-regime forces: secular rebels, Islamists, Syrian jihadists with ties to Al-Qaeda -- and their foreign counterparts.
The Syrian Democratic Forces founded in October 2015, has been backed by US-led coalition air strikes, artillery, and special forces advisers.
This would have been the first high-level visit from India to Syria since civil war broke out in that West Asia nation in 2011.
Jeffrey said an attack by Russian and Syrian forces, and the use of chemical weapons, would force huge refugee flows into southeastern Turkey or areas in Syria under Turkish control.