Despite calls by humanitarian and rights groups on World Children’s Day last week, the Bashar Assad regime together with its backer Russia once again targeted and injured 10 children in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province on Sunday.
“Today, 10 children from one family were injured after the regime forces & Russia bombed their house with Krasnopol laser-guided shells in Marzaf village south Idlib,” the White Helmets civil defense group wrote on Twitter.
“Our teams were on the scene of the bombing and transferred the children to the hospital,” it added, sharing pictures and videos of desperate and frightened children that were wounded by the attacks.
The Idlib region is home to nearly 3 million people, two-thirds of them displaced from other parts of the country.
Nearly 75% of the total population in the opposition-held Idlib region depends on humanitarian aid to meet their basic needs, as 1.6 million people continue to live in camps or informal settlements, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.
For years, the Assad regime has ignored the needs and safety of the Syrian people, only eyeing further gains of territory and crushing the opposition. With this aim, the regime has for years bombed civilian facilities such as schools, hospitals and residential areas, causing the displacement of almost half of the country's population.
The situation for the people in Idlib worsened when the Assad regime, backed by Russia, launched an offensive on the province, causing the largest one-time displacement in the history of the Syrian civil war and a huge humanitarian tragedy, according to the U.N.
Frequent bombings and shelling have put nearly 50% of health facilities out of service, just as the Syrian people need them the most amid the coronavirus pandemic. Living in overcrowded tent camps or even out in the open in safe areas near the Turkish border, many are struggling to meet even basic needs.
The Idlib de-escalation zone was forged under an agreement between Turkey and Russia. The area has been the subject of multiple cease-fire agreements, which have been frequently violated by the Assad regime and its allies.
A fragile truce was brokered between Moscow and Ankara in March 2020 in response to months of fighting by the Russia-backed regime. Almost a million people have fled the Bashar Assad regime’s offensive yet the regime still frequently carries out attacks on civilians, hindering most from returning to their homes and forcing them to stay in makeshift camps.
Meanwhile, amid the bombings and destruction, the children of Idlib try to continue their daily lives and attend school under difficult conditions, especially in Sarmada, close to Turkey.
In the opposition-held town of Sarmada near the border with Turkey, thousands of displaced Syrians go about their daily lives with little hope of returning to their homes any time soon.
Row upon row of tents, brick homes and other structures with water tanks on top dot the town, making up a series of huge informal camps for displaced people. Women cook and children play. Men go to work, pray and discuss politics.
They are displaced from various bouts of violence in Syria’s 10-year conflict.
Some of the camps in Sarmada, north of Idlib city, are run or supported by the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay), which donates food and other items like blankets and toys.
The town’s population has increased dramatically over the years, due to waves of displacement from around the country.
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