Russian air strikes on Syria kills 15 civilians:monitor 1

Russian air strikes on Syria kills 15 civilians:monitor

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Beirut: Russian air strikes killed at least 15 civilians in north-western Syria on Tuesday, and new violence strengthened the noose around a fort by the country’s last major rebel and deepened an already serious humanitarian crisis.

SANA state news agency said the retaliation attack was the fault of insurgents and jihadists for killing three civilians in Aleppo, a government-controlled city in northern Syria.

The increase in violence in the neighboring provinces of Aleppo and Idlib has so far been the result of unsuccessful diplomatic efforts to reduce hostilities in the inflammatory areas, while the theoretically most recent ceasefire agreement effective week ago.

Much of Idlib and parts of the province of Aleppo are still controlled by factions that oppose President Bashar Assad’s regime, including a former Al-Qaida franchise membership organization.

After almost nine years of war, the Damascus regime has controlled about 70% of the country’s territory and has vowed repeatedly to conquer the region again.

Syrian Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday the Russian regime launched an air raid on a rebel-ridden area in western Aleppo, killing eight members of the same family who were hiding in a house.

The British monitor said that six children were killed in the raid in the village of Kfar Taal. A day ago three girls were killed in the strike.

Seven other civilians were killed in Russian air strikes in western Aleppo and southern Idlib.

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Saudi Observatory, said: “In the past three days, the bombing of Idlib and surrounding areas (including western Aleppo) was completely Russians.”

“They want to drive away rebels and jihadists from the city of Aleppo and the highway that connects Aleppo and Damascus,” Abdel Rahman said.

SANA said rebel missiles also killed two women and a child in Aleppo on Tuesday.

Although Russia has announced a cease-fire earlier this month, the cease-fire has never actually been implemented, but violence has increased.

On Thursday, Russia denied all combat operations in the area since the ceasefire earlier this month.

Russia has deployed thousands of troops throughout Syria to support the army, while a Russian private security officer operates on the spot.

In 2015, four years after the Syrian conflict broke out, Moscow intervened to help Assad take over power and marked a long and bloody re-occupation of the area that the rebels had lost at the start of the war.

Abdul Rahman said the recent air strikes could be the prelude to a land offensive in western Aleppo, while the regime and its allies continue to work on reducing the last opposition.

“The regime has concentrated reinforcements on the outskirts of Aleppo,” Abdel Rahman said.

The violence in Northern Syria has escalated into an already nasty humanitarian situation, where aid groups are warning of displacement on an unprecedented scale.

At least 3 million people live in the province of Idlib alone, many of whom need emergency humanitarian aid.

According to the United Nations Humanitarian Coordination Office for Humanitarian Coordination (OCHA), nearly 350,000 people have fled their homes since December 1, mainly south of Idlib, where the air strikes have been hit the hardest.

The International Rescue Committee warns that if the violence continues, another 650,000 people may be forced to leave their homes, especially children.

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