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Syria: 313 civilians killed in Idlib since Nov. 2019

17th Jan 2020
Syria: 313 civilians killed in Idlib since Nov. 2019

By Mehmet Burak Karacaoğlu and Esref Musa

IDLIB, Syria (AA)  More civilians are losing their lives or getting displaced in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib as the Government and Russia intensify airstrikes.

A total of 313 civilians, including 100 children, were killed, 1,843 others injured and 382,466 Syrians were forced to flee their homes since November 2019, according to data provided by the Coordinators of Interventions in Syria, a local rights group.

The strikes also targeted many civilian buildings including 48 mosques, three civil defense centers, one ambulance, nine health teams, 15 health facilities, 11 tent cities, eight water stations, 51 schools and 14 marketplaces.

The aggression by the Syrian Government and its allies have also caused considerable financial damage for Syrians, estimated to be at $322 million.

The majority of civilians fleeing attacks take shelter either near the Turkish border or in areas falling under territories Turkey cleared of terror elements following Operation Olive Branch or Operation Euphrates Shield.

With migration starting in Jebel ez-Zawiyah region in southern Idlib as well, it is feared that about a quarter-million people might be displaced if attacks intensify any further.

Having fled deadly attacks, thousands of families are in dire need of humanitarian aid.

Idlib is often viewed as the fortress of the Syrian opposition and anti-regime armed groups since the eruption of the civil war.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an alliance of terrorist groups, is the strongest militant groups in northern Syria and largely controls Idlib province, including the provincial capital and the border crossing with Turkey at Bab al-Hawa.

The UN, US and Turkey consider HTS group associated with al-Qa’ida and list it as a terrorist organisation.

Other main rebel groups in Idlib are: National Liberation Front (Turkish-backed rebel alliance); Hurras al-Din (pro-al-Qa’ida HTS offshoot) and Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP, Chinese Uighur-dominated group)

With internal migration due to Government aggression, the population of Idlib climbed to four million and it has been under the opposition’s control since 2015. Idlib is one of the most targeted areas by the regime.

On May 4-5, 2017, a total of four de-escalation zones were established in Syria under auspices of Turkey, Russia, and Iran. However, the Government and Iran-backed groups captured all these territories, with the exception of Idlib, with Russian aerial assistance.

Since the start of 2019, some 1.3 million people took refuge near the Turkish border and more than 1,600 civilians lost their lives.

[Photo: A drone photo shows marketplace after it was hit by Syrian and Russian airstrikes in central Idlib, Syria on January 15, 2020. Photographer: İzzeddin İdilbi/AA]

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