Beirut (AFP) – Seven civilians were killed on Friday in Syrian bombings of Idleb province, the highest figure since a Russian-Turkish agreement came into force to prevent the regime from attacking the country. northwestern region of Syria at war.
Three children are among those killed in a village in Syria’s last big insurgent stronghold, located in the north-west of the country, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH) said.
Russia, ally of the regime of Bashar al-Assad, and Turkey, support of the rebels, agreed on September 17 in Sochi (Russia) of the establishment of a “demilitarized zone” in the region of Idleb.
This buffer zone aims to separate the areas under the regime’s control from those still held by rebels or jihadists, to avoid an offensive by the army, which would risk according to the UN to provoke a “humanitarian catastrophe”.
Hayat group Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), from the former Syrian branch of Al Qaeda, controls most of the region’s sectors that are beyond the regime’s control.
Friday’s deadly bombing hit the village of Al-Rifa, under HTS control, in south-eastern Idleb province.
In the neighboring province of Aleppo, there have been clashes between regime fighters and rebels on the western outskirts of Aleppo, the OSDH reported.
Under the Sochi agreement, the jihadists had to withdraw from the planned demilitarized zone, but this had not been done by the October 15 deadline set for this purpose. The sporadic bombing that has taken place since then has seen a major escalation on Wednesday night.
Shelling by government forces killed a girl in Kafr Hamra, a town in Aleppo province in the planned buffer zone, said the OSDH.
The rocket fire of jihadists but also rebels backed by Turkey hit the northern city of Aleppo, injuring 10 people.
Russia and Turkey said the agreement was still in force despite the expiry of the deadline for the withdrawal of insurgents.
The Syrian regime insists that the buffer zone agreement is temporary and that Illeb would eventually return to government control.
On Friday, the Syrian representative to the UN, Bashar Jaafari, repeated it again in statements reproduced by the official Sana news agency.
“It is normal for the Syrian state to fight terrorism in Idleb to rid its inhabitants of terrorism and extend its sovereignty,” he said.