12 civilians killed in air raids on Syrian forces in the north-west

File Reuters

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Twelve civilians were killed in airstrikes by Syrian forces, including four who were in a market in Idlib, a province controlled by jihadists in northwest Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday.

The observatory said that there was a child among those who were killed in a market in Maarat al-Nu’man in Idlib.

Eight other civilians were also killed by regime fire in other areas of Idlib, a stronghold of the al-Sham Liberation Organization (formerly Nusra Front), which was linked to al-Qaeda.

An AFP correspondent in Maarat al-Nu’man saw a young man carrying a body that looked like a small girl on a pile of debris after an airstrike.

Another man pulled out a dust-covered girl and carried it over his shoulder.

Witness Hamadou Mustafa said he was shopping at the time of the air strike.

“We were selling and buying in the street. They targeted civilians who were buying food for their children,” he said.

Nearby, members of the White Helmets were blocking a bulldozer to lift the rubble.

Fighting has intensified south of Idlib in recent days.

The Syrian news agency SANA said that the Syrian forces recovered on Sunday the town of Kfarabida in the countryside of Hama after “the elimination of the last remnants of the terrorists in it.”

The observatory confirmed the news.

The al-Sham editorial board controls the bulk of Idlib and is present with Islamic factions in parts of neighboring provinces. The region is under a Russian-Turkish agreement that provides for the establishment of a demilitarized zone separating the forces of the regime and the factions, whose implementation has not been completed.

The region was relatively quiet after the agreement was signed in September. Turkey has deployed several monitoring points to monitor the implementation of the agreement. However, since February, the regime’s forces have stepped up their bombardment before Russian planes join them later.

Damascus accuses Ankara of supporting the factions by delaying the implementation of the agreement, but Turkish Defense Minister Khulosi Akkar accused the Syrian regime of threatening the cease-fire.

Since the end of April, nearly 20,000 people have been driven out of the fighting and 20 medical facilities have been razed, of which 19 remain out of service, according to the United Nations.


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