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US demands Russia, regime stop air strikes killing civilians

Local | 2019-11-08 21:27:00
US demands Russia, regime stop air strikes killing civilians
   AA Photo
The United States on Friday demanded that the Syrian regime and its Russian allies stop air strikes in northwestern Syria, saying they had a pattern of attacking civilians.

The US State Department said that attacks in the northwestern area over the previous two days had struck a school and a maternity hospital, killing 12 people.

"The latest reported incidents reflect a well-documented pattern of attacks against civilians and infrastructure by Russian and Syrian forces," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.

"We urge Russia and the Assad regime to resolve this conflict through the UN-facilitated political process and to stop waging war in civilian areas," she said in a statement.

  Five civilians were killed in Russian airstrikes on residential areas of  Idlib de-escalation zone, the Syrian civil defense agency, White Helmets, said on Friday.

Three were killed in Rami village and another two in Maarshimshan, according to the agency.

According to Syrian opposition's aircraft observatory, Russian warplanes have targeted the villages of Rami, Jibala and Maarshimshan since last night.

The villages fall within Idlib province's Kafr Nabl district which was designated as a part of the de-escalation zone in Turkey’s deal hammered with Russia late in 2018.

Since then, more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces in the de-escalation zone.

Notably, about a million people have been forced to leave conflict-prone areas of the city and started taking shelter in safer areas in the northern part of the city that borders Turkey.

The Turkish government has followed an "open door" policy for Syrians since the eruption of the bloody war.

  The Idlib region, which is home to some three million people, including many displaced by Syria's eight-year civil war, is controlled by the country's former Al-Qaeda affiliate.

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad's forces launched a blistering military campaign against Idlib in April, killing around 1,000 civilians and displacing more than 400,000 people from their homes.

A ceasefire announced by the regime's major backer Moscow has largely held since late August, although the Observatory says skirmishes have persisted.

Assad last month said Idlib was the main front standing in the way of an end to the civil war, as his forces made a partial comeback in northeast Syria to stave off a Turkish offensive against Kurdish fighters there.

The Assad regime had gained back large swathes of Syria from rebels and jihadists in the past four years since Moscow intervened militarily by its side.
  
Eight years of war in Syria have killed 560,000 people and driven half the pre-war population of 22 million from their homes, including more than 6 million as refugees to neighbouring countries.  Zaman, Al Wasl, Agencies

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