Another child was killed in an attack by the Bashar Assad regime in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province on Monday, while two were injured as the regime continues its violations of a ceasefire struck last year.
Regime forces stationed in the Jurin area of northwestern Hama violated the cease-fire by shelling the villages of Hmeimat, Qalidin, Zaqqum and Qastun.
One girl was killed in the attack, while two other children were injured and taken to nearby hospitals.
Just a day ago, regime forces fired shells at the Maghara and al-Bara villages in Idlib, local sources stated.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) on the same day condemned the attack, saying: “Attacks of this nature spread terror and panic among civilians, leading them to flee their lands and homes in an attempt to reach safety, and forcibly displacing them, with the number of internally displaced persons within Syria currently standing at approximately 6.5 million Syrian citizens in total.”
It urged the international community to put pressure on the regime and its allies “to force them to compensate the displaced victims, rehabilitate homes and vital centers, (and) support the process of political transition.”
The renewed attacks came after the United Nations Security Council last week renewed a resolution for the use of the Bab al-Hawa border gate from Turkey into Syria’s opposition-held northwest.
U.N. officials on Sunday published a joint statement welcoming the renewal of Security Council authorization for cross-border assistance to north-west Syria, as it will continue to offer a lifeline to millions of people.”
According to the U.N., the crisis in Syria is today even more critical than ever as an economic collapse has left more than 13 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
“We underline the humanitarian nature and necessity of accessing people in need through cross-border and cross-line mechanisms, and we take this opportunity to express our commitment to work with all parties to ensure that cross-line missions are authorized and sustained,” the statement said.
“A large-scale U.N. crossborder response remains essential to meet the urgent and growing needs in northwest Syria. While the cross-border and cross-line missions are crucial complementary efforts to reach those in need,” it underlined further, highlighting that only a political solution can resolve the crisis in Syria.
The U.N. called on all parties to find a resolution to the ongoing conflict.
The UNSC agreed to extend its decision authorizing Turkey’s Cilvegözü border gate (Bab al-Hawa) in southern Hatay province for U.N. aid sent to northwest Syria for the next 12 months.
The decision will be implemented for an initial six months and then extended for another six months based on the report of the U.N. Secretary-General.
Ankara in a press release said, “U.N. aid sent through our border gate is essential for the continuation of the effective response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria and for regional stability and security.”
It noted that Ankara therefore “welcomes the continuation of the U.N. cross-border humanitarian aid mechanism operating through our country to meet the needs of the Syrian people.”
The UNSC agreed to extend the cross-border aid operation after Russia allowed a compromise in last-minute talks with the United States.
Idlib falls within a de-escalation zone forged under an agreement between Turkey and Russia in March 2020.
Almost a million people have fled the Assad regime’s offensive on the last opposition bastion since December 2019 with many seeking refuge in overcrowded tent camps near the Turkish border. Upon the Assad regime's attack, Turkey launched Operation Spring Shield. After, the surge of violence decreased following a Turkey-Russia brokered cease-fire in the region.
UNICEF said 512 children were verified killed in Syria last year. The majority of thoses deaths were in the northwest where there are 1.7 million vulnerable children, many of whom have fled violence several times.
However, the Syrian regime has consistently violated the terms of the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the de-escalation zone.
It says some 1,000 trucks have passed through the crossing every month over the past year, carrying in vital COVID-19 vaccines, hospital equipment and medicine for diabetes, tuberculosis and leishmaniasis.
The Security Council approved four border crossings when deliveries began in 2014, three years after the start of the Syrian conflict. But in January 2020, Russia used its veto threat in the council to limit aid deliveries to two border crossings, and in July 2020, its veto threat cut another. So today, aid can only be delivered through the Bab al-Hawa crossing from Turkey to Syria’s opposition-held northwest.
Syria has been mired in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Over the past decade, around half a million people have been killed, and more than 12 million had to flee their homes.
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