Shelling by Bashar Assad's regime has killed four children in Syria's last major opposition bastion in the northwest of the country, a Britain-based war monitor said Sunday.
The artillery fire late Saturday hit a residential area in the south of the opposition-dominated bastion of Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said.
The victims in the village of Qastoun in the Hama province were from the same family, it said.
The Idlib region is home to nearly 3 million people, two-thirds of them displaced from other parts of the country during the decade-long civil war.
Nearly 75% of the total population in northwestern Syria's 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.
An OCHA official recently told Daily Sabah that an estimated 3.4 million people, out of northwestern Syria's 4.2 million population, are in need of aid. Almost 2.7 million are internally displaced, of which 1.6 million live in camps or informal settlements.
"Many of these (camps are) overcrowded and needs are particularly high. Of the total population (4.2 million) approximately 75% depend on humanitarian aid to meet their basic needs," said the U.N. body.
The lives of the Syrian people, dealing with numerous difficulties in rural Idlib's tent camps, have become much harder due to the ongoing pandemic and high temperatures. As the humanitarian catastrophe in the region reaches new heights, people try to survive by taking shelter under trees or shaky tents built on mud and puddles. Many Turkish NGOs and state agencies continue to provide vital humanitarian aid and conduct humanitarian efforts in the region. Millions of displaced people in the region also need urgent humanitarian medical assistance.
A cease-fire deal brokered by regime ally Russia and main opposition backer Turkey has largely protected the region from a new regime offensive since March 2020.
But regime forces have stepped up their shelling on the south of the bastion since June.
Bashar Assad took the oath of office for a new term last month, vowing to make "liberating those parts of the homeland that still need to be" one of his top priorities.
Most recently, amid the regime's increasing attacks on civilians and residential areas, the United Nations has voiced deep concern over the escalating violence in northwestern Syria, which poses a constant risk to civilians.
Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said the ongoing fighting has caused death and injury to dozens of civilians in the past weeks, including women and children.
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