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Six Civilians Killed in Northwest Syria Despite Truce

Six Civilians Killed in Northwest Syria Despite Truce

Saturday, 14 September, 2019 - 09:45
A reported Russian airstrike on Wednesday hit a building that was hosting displaced Syrians in the village of al-Daher | AFP

Regime and Russian fire has killed at least six civilians in northwestern Syria's Idlib province, a war monitor said Saturday, two weeks after Moscow declared a ceasefire in the militant-dominated region.

The truce, which brought a halt to four months of devastating bombardment on Idlib province by the government and its ally Russia, had largely held apart from sporadic artillery fire and airstrikes.

But on Tuesday, Russia carried out its first airstrikes in the area since the ceasefire began, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

On Friday, regime rocket fire on the towns of Maaret Al-Numan and Kafranbel in southern Idlib province killed five civilians including a child, the Observatory said.

A sixth civilian was killed in a Russian airstrike in the rural west of the province, it added.

That brought to 11 the number killed since the ceasefire came into effect, according to the Britain-based monitor, which has a network of contacts across the war-torn country.

The Hayat Tahrir al-Sham alliance led by Al-Qaeda's former Syria affiliate controls most of Idlib as well as parts of neighboring Aleppo and Latakia provinces.

The region of around three million people, many of them displaced by fighting in other areas, is one of the last holdouts of opposition to forces backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Observatory on Saturday reported regime fire in various parts of southern Idlib, including close to a Turkish military observation post.

Russian air raids have also targeted hardline militants in Idlib's western countryside and nearby parts of Latakia, it said.

The ceasefire is the second since Damascus escalated its operations in the area in April, which have since left at least 980 civilians dead, according to Observatory figures, and which the UN says have forced more than 400,000 people to flee.

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