Army shelling kills 22 civilians in Idlib
Heavy bombardment by the Syrian army of the jihadist-controlled Idlib region has killed 22 civilians, a monitor said yesterday, the latest violence which threatens a seven-month-old truce.
The ceasefire was brokered by the main foreign backers of the warring parties in September to head off a government offensive that prompted UN warnings of humanitarian disaster for the region’s three million residents.
But since the region was overrun by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham alliance led by former al-Qaeda fighters in January, the fragile truce has come under mounting assault.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem accused Turkey, which signed the September deal on behalf of the rebels, of failing to honour its commitments and warned that his government’s patience was running out.
The UN humanitarian affairs office said the escalating violence threatened aid deliveries to some 2.7 million people in need.
In the latest flare-up, army artillery and rocket fire on the Idlib towns of Kafrnabel and Maaret al-Noman killed 13 people yesterday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
It came after shelling of adjacent jihadist-held areas of Hama and Aleppo provinces killed nine people late on Wednesday, the Britain-based watchdog said.
The UN humanitarian office said that the escalating violence had already killed 90 civilians in the Idlib region in March, nearly half of them children.