Seven children reported killed in Syrian government bombing in Idlib
Syrian regime bombardment has killed 14 civilians, including seven children, in northwestern Syria, a UK-based activist group said on Saturday, in the latest deadly raids on the embattled opposition bastion.
Warplanes and helicopters late on Friday carried out air strikes on Mahambel village in Idlib province, killing 13 civilians, including the children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
A woman was also killed early on Saturday by regime rocket fire on the outskirts of the town of Khan Sheikhun, in the south of the province, the Observatory said.
As the last stronghold of rebels against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule, Idlib has been the focus of a government offensive since late April.
The province, which borders Turkey, was supposed to be protected by a deal struck between Ankara and Assad’s backers in Moscow, but has instead been subjected to heavy bombardment during the ongoing campaign.
An average of two children have been killed in Idlib every day, according to the estimate of another activist group, the Syrian Network for Human Rights.
The group said 518 people were killed in a two-month period from the end of April.
‘Horrified by the ongoing attacks’
Idlib is mostly controlled by former al-Qaeda affiliate Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, but other rebel groups are also based there, and many among its population of three million were displaced by government offensives elsewhere in Syria.
The United Nations says 25 health facilities in the region have been hit, the latest including the second attack in two months on an underground hospital in the town of Kafranbel on Thursday, the AFP news agency reported.
“The attacks happened despite the fact that the coordinates of this hospital had previously been shared with the parties to the conflict in a deliberate, carefully planned effort to prevent any attacks on it,” a UN official said on Friday.
“I am horrified by the ongoing attacks on civilian areas and civilian infrastructure as the conflict in northwest Syria continues,” said Mark Cutts, UN deputy regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syrian crisis.
Syria’s war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.