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Warplanes strike Idlib despite ceasefire: monitor, residents

Local | 2019-09-12 20:22:00
Warplanes strike Idlib despite ceasefire: monitor, residents
Air strikes pounded the south of Syria's Idlib region Thursday, a rebel official and residents said, despite a ceasefire that had halted a fierce army offensive against the rebel stronghold two weeks ago.

Regime warplanes bombed the south Idlib countryside for the first time since, including Maarat al-Numan town, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitor, said.

Mohammad Rashid, spokesperson for the Jaish al-Nasr rebel faction, said the raids had intensified after strikes on a few positions in the rural west of Idlib in the past two days.

Idlib, in Syria's northwest corner, is the last big chunk of territory still in rebel hands after more than eight years of civil war.

Idlib enjoyed a lull in air strikes after Damascus and its ally Moscow declared a ceasefire on Aug. 31 following five months of bombing which the United Nations says killed hundreds of people.

This was the second such truce announced there in a month. A ceasefire in early August collapsed within three days, after which the Russian-backed army of President Bashar al-Assad pressed its offensive and gained ground.

Turkey, which supports some rebel factions, brokered a "de-escalation" deal with Russia in 2017 that sought to curb fighting in Idlib. It does not cover jihadist militants.

Rebels said Wednesday that pro-regime forces were massing on the front line.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights said about 1100 civilians have been killed by regime forces since late April in northwest Syria.

 The eight-year-old war has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands and forced 13 million people from their homes, half of whom have left their shattered homeland.

With Reuters
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