Russia’s continuing attacks on Syria’s last opposition bastion, Idlib, on Saturday injured a man while causing terror and panic among civilians, humanitarian groups reported.
“Russia renewed its attacks on northwestern Syria today. A civilian was seriously injured,” the White Helmets civil defense group wrote on Twitter. They added that Russia targeted a farm in Jisr al-Shoghour city in the western suburbs of Idlib.
“Fixed-wing warplanes, which we believe were Russian, fired missiles at a poultry barn that was being used for sheltering livestock in (the) Shadrani area,” the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said.
SNHR underlined that the location was within a residential area free of any military presence and equipment.
“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 added.
It further called on the international community to take actions against the attacks of the Syrian regime and its ally Russia.
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.
Moreover, those returning often face torture at the hands of the regime.
“Anyone willing to look can see the Assad government's continual record of brutal suppression against his own people,” the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Thursday in a report.
“Based on evidence of widespread, ongoing abuses, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees continues to maintain that Syria is not safe and advises all refugee host nations not to force anyone to return,” it underlined.
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