FORCES battling the regime of Bashar al-Assad are boxed into their last enclave amid fears of an Aleppo style bloodbath among trapped civilians.
Syrian government forces have been shelling and bombing Idlib, in northwest of the war torn country, with at least 17 civilians killed over the past 24 hours, a war monitoring group said today.
The government forces’ artillery fire targeted several locations and about half of those killed were under 18 years old, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The area is home to millions of refugees who fled the rebel held city of Aleppo, which was last year reduced to rubble by warplanes from Russia, which is backing the dictator’s regime.
The eight year civil war has killed nearly 400,000 people, according to estimates, in scenes reminiscent of the urban devastation of World War 2.
The besieged war zone is subject to a ceasefire agreement struck in September between Russia and Turkey to avert a major government offensive to retake the northwest.
The area had been subject to a ceasefire agreement struck in September between Russia and Turkey to avert a humanitarian catastrophe.
Moscow is the government’s strongest ally while Turkey backs some rebel groups.
The northwest, including Idlib province and parts of Hama and Aleppo provinces, is home to about 3 million people, half of whom have already been internally displaced, the United Nations says.
Early this year, the jihadist groups in the northwest seized most of the enclave from other rebel factions. Turkish-backed insurgents hold an adjacent enclave in northern Aleppo province where there is no active fighting with the government.
More to follow…
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