Syrian gov’t shelling in Idlib kills seven members of same family


The military has intensified bombings in the rebel-held northwest since President al-Assad was sworn in for a new term last week.

Syrian government artillery shells struck a village in the country’s last rebel enclave on Thursday, killing seven members of the same family, including four children, rescue workers and a war monitor.

The shelling is part of an ongoing military escalation in the region of northwestern Syria, which has been under a ceasefire sponsored by Russia and Turkey since last year.

It is not yet clear what led to the attacks this month that killed at least 17 children, according to data confirmed by UNICEF, the United Nations children’s agency.

Rescuers in opposition areas known as the White Helmets said the shells landed in the village of Iblin in southern Idlib province.

A mother and her four children were among the dead who were pulled out from under the rubble of the damaged house. According to the group, seven others were injured.

Rami Abdurrahman, head of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the children’s grandfathers and uncles were among the dead. He said the father was injured in the attack.

According to Observatory records, 21 people, including 11 children and six women, have been killed in government attacks on the rebel enclave since Saturday.

The military intensified the bombing of the northwestern enclave when President Bashar al-Assad was sworn in for a new term that “needed to liberate those parts of the country” that were one of his top priorities.

On the day Assad took the oath, attacks on the Idlib villages of Sarja and Ehsin killed 14 civilians, seven of whom were children.

The observatory said nine civilians, three of them children, were killed in shelling two days ago in Idlib and the city of Fua in the north.

The attack took place on Thursday, the last day of the Islamic Eid al-Adha holiday.

Syria’s government, which last year agreed to Russia-Turkey talks, has pledged to restore control of territory lost during the 10-year conflict.

In March 2020 the truce, covering home to about 4 million mostly displaced people, was negotiated between Turkey, which supports the Syrian opposition and the troops deployed in the region, and Russia, the Syrian government’s main supporter.

At the time, it halted a crushing Russian-backed government air and ground campaign aimed at retaking the area.

Elsewhere in the country, Kurdish-led forces have taken control of a large part of the East after driving the ISIL group out of the region.

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