Several children killed by Syrian army gunfire in Idlib province

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Nine civilians including seven children were killed on Saturday in artillery fire by the Syrian army on the province of Idleb, the last major rebel and jihadist stronghold in the country. The UN condemned these bombings, which also left about fifteen wounded.

Far from media attention, the conflict in Syria continues to claim civilian casualties. Nine people were killed, including seven children, during bombings by the Syrian army on the province of Idleb, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH) said on Saturday (July 3).

These artillery strikes, which targeted several localities in the region of Jabal al-Zawya, also left some fifteen wounded.

Among the victims are five members of the same family – a couple and their three children – in the village of Iblin, and four children who died in the villages of Balchoune and Balyoune, added this NGO which has a vast network of sources in Syria.

The father of two of the four children killed – two young girls – is a white helmets rescue worker in the rebel zone. Iman and Noor were 14 and seven, according to a statement from the organization posted on social media.

In Iblin, an AFP photographer saw the bodies of the family arriving at a dispensary, wrapped in blankets. A nurse confirmed that five members of the same family had died.

UN condemnation

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) condemned the “tragic” attacks, saying in a statement that the three children of the same family had “apparently been killed with their parents while they slept”.

According to UNICEF, 512 children were killed in Syria in 2020, “the majority in the northwest, home to 1.7 million vulnerable children, many of whom have repeatedly fled violence.”

“Violence and further attacks will push the country further down the drain, and pose obstacles on the path to peace and a better future for millions of children,” the organization added.

Saturday’s record is one of the deadliest since the entry into force in March 2020 of a ceasefire negotiated by Russia, an ally of the Syrian regime, and Turkey, support of the rebels, and which had stopped an offensive by the forces of President Bashar al-Assad against this bastion dominated by the jihadists.

But violations of the truce are relatively frequent, with government forces trying to keep the pressure on the enclave.

In recent weeks, Russian fighter jets have shelled areas of Idleb province, in addition to artillery fire from regime forces, according to OSDH.

Triggered in 2011 by the repression of pro-democracy protests, the war in Syria has claimed nearly half a million lives, according to OSDH, and has displaced several million people.

Burning for years, the fronts have been virtually silent in Syria since 2020, after the Assad regime, with the crucial support of Russian military aviation, has succeeded in recent years in recapturing more than two-thirds of the territory.

With AFP

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