Five civilians were killed in Idlib by regime airstrikes as attacks continue by the Bashar Assad regime and its backers Russia and Iran. With the latest casualties, the number of civilians killed in 2019 has surpassed 150.
Five civilians were killed and five others injured in overnight airstrikes in Syria's northwestern Idlib province, according to sources with the White Helmets civil defense agency.
Airstrikes that continued until yesterday morning claimed the lives of four children and their father in al-Faqie village, with the mother being rescued from debris, sources said. The attacks took place at dawn and also targeted the villages of Frikeh, Sheikh Mustafa, Al Hamidiyah, Hbit and the outskirts of the town of Kafr Rumah. According to a pro-opposition warplane observatory, the attacks were carried out by six Russian warplanes that took off from the Khmeimim Air Base in the country's western Latakia province.
In another attack on Wednesday, three civilians were killed in artillery shelling by regime forces and Iran-backed paramilitary groups in Idlib province.
The U.N.-sponsored Astana talks between Russia, Iran and Turkey had established four de-escalation zones in the northwestern province of Idlib, north of the central city of Homs, the Eastern Ghouta area outside Damascus and in the southern provinces of Daraa and Quneitra.
The partial cease-fire, however, was short-lived as regime forces backed by Russia and Iran recaptured three of the areas through heavy bombardments, leaving Idlib as the last stronghold of the opposition. The Assad regime was signaling a grand offensive on Idlib, and it was feared this would cause a humanitarian catastrophe in the province, which is home to about 3.5 million Syrians, many of whom are internally displaced. On Sept. 17, 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed in Sochi to implement a demilitarized zone between opposition forces and regime forces, warding off the possible humanitarian disaster.
However, despite the Sochi agreement, attacks carried out by the Syrian regime and its backers in Idlib's de-escalation zone are estimated to have killed at least 152 civilians and injured more than 445 others since the beginning of 2019.
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