Middle East

Regime Fire Kills Four Civilians in NW Syria: Monitor

Nearly three million people live in the Idlib region.

Regime artillery fire killed four civilians including a child in Idlib city in Syria’s last major rebel bastion Tuesday, a Britain-based war monitor said.

It was the first such deadly bombing on the city in the country’s northwest in around 10 months, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Shelling by pro-Damascus fighters killed one woman in a residential neighborhood, while a top university official and his son as well as another man also lost their lives when artillery fire hit near a swimming pool on the edge of the provincial capital, said the monitor, which depends on sources inside Syria for its information.

An AFP correspondent in Idlib city saw rescue workers and civilians carry the body of a young woman down from her family home and into an ambulance, as alarmed onlookers fled the scene fearing more shelling.

The Idlib region is home to nearly three million people, two-thirds of them displaced from other parts of the country during the decade-long civil war.

The opposition stronghold is made up of less than half of Idlib province including the provincial capital, as well as slivers of adjacent provinces.

It is dominated by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate, but rebels and other jihadists are also present.

A ceasefire deal brokered by regime ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey has largely protected the region from a new government military campaign since March 2020.

But regime forces have over recent months increased their shelling on the southern edges of the bastion.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in July took the oath of office for a new term, vowing to make “liberating those parts of the homeland that still need to be” one of his top priorities.

Syria’s war has killed around half a million people since starting in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.

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