Bashar Assad regime violates Sochi deal, continues attacks on civilian areas in Idlib

Published 06.02.2019 00:06

Syrian regime forces and Iran-backed groups violated the Sochi cease-fire agreement several times last month by striking opposition positions inside Idlib's de-escalation zone, reportedly leaving dozens of civilians dead.

According to the White Helmets civil-defense agency, regime forces and Iran-backed groups last month attacked residential areas in the de-escalation zone, in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

Last September in Russia's resort city of Sochi, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to establish the Idlib de-escalation zone.

Nevertheless, at least 30 people in Idlib were killed in January, including women and children, while another 180 were injured, in Idlib, Hama and Latakia, by regime drone attacks and artillery fire, according to the White Helmets.

Last month also saw the regime target Idlib's southeastern countryside, along with rural parts of the Aleppo, Latakia and Hama provinces.

Mohamed Hallaj, director of the Coordinators of Interventions in Syria, a nongovernment organization, told Anadolu Agency that thousands of families had fled to areas near the Turkish border as a result of the ongoing violence.

In November and December last year, more than 16,000 families were forced to flee their homes in southeastern Idlib and northern Hama, Hallaj said.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.

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