Syrian army attack kills 9 civilians in rebel bastion: Monitor

AFP , Saturday 25 Nov 2023

Syrian government bombardment on Saturday killed nine civilians including six children as they harvested olives in northwestern Idlib province, the country's last main rebel bastion, a war monitor said.

Residents and a rescuer from the Syrian White Helmets, pile up bodies of civilians killed in a Syria
Residents and a rescuer from the Syrian White Helmets, pile up bodies of civilians killed in a Syrian regime bombardment in the town of Kaokafin in the rebel-held Idlib province on November 25, 2023. AFP


"Ground bombardment by regime forces" struck the group "while they were picking olives in the village of Qoqfin", in Idlib province's mountainous Jabal al-Zawiya area, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. 

Nine civilians "including a woman and six children" were killed and others wounded, some in serious condition, added the Britain-based monitor, which linked to the Syrian opposition. 

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), led by Al-Qaeda's Syria branch, controls swathes of Idlib province and parts of the neighbouring Aleppo, Hama and Latakia provinces.

HTS is considered a terrorist group by Damascus, as well as by the United States and United Nations.

Bombardments and clashes were ongoing in the area before the group was hit on Saturday, the Observatory said, while HTS bombed nearby regime-controlled territory heavily after the fatal strike.

Civil war erupted in Syria after President Bashar al-Assad crushed peaceful anti-government protests in 2011.

The conflict has killed more than half a million people and displaced millions after spiralling into a devastating war involving foreign armies, militias and jihadists.

Syrian government forces intensified strikes on the Idlib bastion after an attack on a military academy in Homs killed scores early last month, according to the Observatory, in one of the bloodiest single attacks on government forces since the start of the war.

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