Middle EastWar

Eight Civilians Killed by Syria Army in Rebel Bastion: Monitor

A pregnant woman was among eight civilians killed on Sunday during bombardments by the Syrian army in the last major rebel stronghold in the northwest, a war monitor said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said six other people were injured in the attacks.

“Regime forces committed a massacre by directly targeting residential areas, using artillery shells and rocket launchers in Darat Izza, Aleppo province,” said the monitor, which relies on a network of sources in the country.

“At least six civilians, including a pregnant woman, were killed in Darat Izza, and two other civilians in the locality of Abzimou” in the same province, it added in a new toll.

Earlier, five government soldiers were killed by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group, formerly the local branch of Al-Qaeda, in the north of Latakia province, according to the Observatory.

It said the HTS attack was a response to the wounding of 14 civilians earlier on Sunday in Syrian army bombardments on residential areas of Idlib city.

HTS controls swathes of Idlib province and parts of the neighboring Aleppo, Hama, and Latakia.

The group, considered a terrorist organization by Damascus, the US, and the EU, regularly clashes with Syrian and allied Russian forces.

HTS is the main rebel organization active in northwest Syria, but there are other groups, some backed by Turkey, and there have been fierce clashes in recent weeks.

In late November, Syrian government bombardments killed nine civilians, including six children, while they were harvesting olives in Idlib province, the Observatory said at the time.

Starting in 2011 after the repression of anti-government protests, the war in Syria has left more than half a million dead and displaced millions after spiraling into a war involving foreign armies, militias, and jihadists.

The Idlib region is subject to a ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey after a regime offensive in March 2020, but it has been repeatedly violated.

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