At least 17 civilians killed in Assad regime shelling in Syria
Shelling by Syrian regime forces of opposition-held areas in the northwest of the country has killed 17 civilians in the past 24 hours, a war monitoring group said on Thursday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights group said the shelling was in different locations and that more than half the dead were under the age of 18.
Local sources said the attacks were carried out in Idlib’s Kafr Nabl, Maarat al-Numaan and Saraqib towns and Han al Sibl village, while Kafr Zita town in Hama was also targeted.
Civil service units have been continuing search and rescue efforts in the targeted areas, sources said.
Violence has escalated in northwestern Syria this year along the frontline between pro-Assad forces and the largest remaining territory held by Syrian opposition groups.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed in September 2018, following their talks in Sochi, to establish a demilitarized zone in Idlib in order to decrease tension and prevent a new conflict in the province.
Attacks carried out by the Assad regime and its backers in Idlib’s de-escalation zone are estimated to have killed at least 152 civilians and injured more than 445 others since the beginning of 2019.
The northwest, including Idlib province and parts of Hama and Aleppo provinces, is home to about 3 million people, half of whom have already been internally displaced, the United Nations says.
Almost eight years into Syria’s grinding civil war, Bashar Assad’s regime controls around two-thirds of the country.
The war started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-Assad protests and has since spiraled into a complex conflict involving world powers that have killed more than 360,000 people.