Syria ignores Trump, continues Idlib strikes
Bombardments by the Syrian regime killed six civilians in northwest Syria Monday, hours after U.S. President Donald Trump urged Damascus and its allies to “stop bombing the hell” out of the jihadist-held region.
Trump’s call came after U.S. ally Israel carried out a series of strikes against Syria at the weekend, leaving at least 15 dead among pro-government forces, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The bombardment by Damascus and its ally Moscow of Idlib Province and neighboring areas has killed more than 300 people since late April, according to the Observatory, a Britain-based war monitor.
It also displaced nearly 270,000 people in May alone, according to the United Nations.
Russia on Monday blocked a U.N. Security Council statement criticizing Syria’s military campaign in the Idlib region.
In a note seen by AFP, Moscow said the proposed statement was “unbalanced” because it did not mention the eastern Syrian towns of Hajin or Baghouz, where civilians suffered during a U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led offensive against the Islamic State jihadist group.
The violence in and around Idlib, which comes despite a truce deal brokered by Russia and Turkey in September, has raised fears of a humanitarian catastrophe on a scale yet unseen in Syria’s eight-year conflict, which has already claimed more than 370,000 lives.
The Kremlin insisted Monday that the Russian army was only targeting “terrorists” in Syria’s Idlib region, which is controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a group dominated by former members of Al-Qaida’s Syria affiliate.
It accused them of firing at civilians and Moscow’s troops.