WED 18 - 9 - 2019
 
Date: May 21, 2019
Source: The Daily Star
Russia airstrikes kill 10 in Syria’s Kafranbel
Agence France Presse
KAFRANBEL, Syria: Airstrikes by Syrian regime ally Russia have killed 10 civilians including five children in a northwestern militant bastion, an activist group said Monday, hours after Moscow announced a cease-fire there.

The Russian army said the air raids overnight on the town of Kafranbel, in Idlib province, came after it pinpointed the area as the launchpad for rocket fire on its key Syria airbase of Hmeimim.

Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, controls a large part of Idlib province as well as parts of neighboring Aleppo, Hama and Latakia provinces.

The militant stronghold is supposed to be protected from a government offensive by a September buffer-zone deal, but regime and Russian bombardment has increased there since late April.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Russian airstrikes overnight killed five children, four women, and one man in Kafranbel.

The raids hit near a hospital in the town, knocking it out of service, the Britain-based group said.

An AFP correspondent saw five homes on the edges on the town that were destroyed or damaged after the strikes. Survivors picked through the debris to save the belongings they could, the reporter said, while a young man covered inc dust from head to toe leant against a wall, shell-shocked after his father was killed.

Umm Wasel narrowly missed the airstrike on her home after relatives invited her over to break her daily fast of the Islamic month of Ramadan with them.

“I came back at night to find my home devastated,” said the 72-year-old, dressed in a long red robe and a black scarf covering her hair.

People “had thought I was under the rubble,” she said.

The Observatory said six other civilians also died in bombardment by regime forces in other parts of the Idlib region Sunday.

Fighting raged in the north of Hama province between loyalists and militants early Monday, the Observatory said, after relative respite in bombardment over the past three days.

Russian airplanes pounded the south of Idlib province, while government aircraft targeted the north of Hama province with machine guns, missiles, and crude barrel bombs, the Observatory added.

Save the Children said 38 children had been killed in shelling in northwest Syria since April 1, including nine at school, seven at the market and one in hospital.

“Schools, hospitals and other vital civilian infrastructure must be protected from attack,” the charity’s Syria director Sonia Khush said.

“Children are particularly vulnerable to the impact of explosive weapons, and warring parties should make a particular effort to protect them,” she said.

The deadly Russian airstrikes come after Moscow Sunday said Syrian armed forces had “unilaterally ceased fire in the Idlib de-escalation zone” from May 18 at midnight, but that fire of loyalists had continued.

Russia and rebel ally Turkey inked a buffer zone deal to protect the Idlib region of some 3 million people in September, but regime fire has increased there since HTS took control in January.

Russia says it repelled an attack on its main Syrian air base: RIA
Agencies
MOSCOW: Russia's Ministry of Defense said Monday that it had repelled a drone and missile attack on its main air base in Syria over the weekend and accused Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militants of being behind the assault, the RIA news agency reported.

RIA cited the ministry as saying it had shot down six missiles fired at the Hmeimim military airport in Syria's Latakia Province.

Earlier Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Russian airstrikes killed 10 civilians including five children in a northwestern militant bastion, hours after Moscow announced a cease-fire there.

Clashes between regime forces and militants raged Monday on the edge of the region held by Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate, following the deadly air raids overnight, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Idlib region controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is supposed to be protected from a government offensive by a September buffer zone deal, but regime and Russian bombardment has increased there since late April.

The Observatory said Russian airstrikes overnight killed five children, four women, and one man in the town of Kafranbel in Idlib province.

The airstrikes hit near a hospital in the town, knocking it out of service, the Britain-based monitor said.

An AFP correspondent saw five homes on the edges on the town that were destroyed or damaged after the strikes.

Survivors picked through the debris to save the belongings they could, the reporter said, while a young man covered in dust from head to toe leaned against a wall, shell-shocked after his father was killed.

Umm Wasel narrowly missed the airstrike on her home after relatives invited her over to break her daily fast of the Islamic month of Ramadan with them.

"I came back at night to find my home devastated," said the 72-year-old, dressed in a long red robe and a black scarf covering her hair.

People "had thought I was under the rubble," she said.

The Observatory said six other civilians also died in bombardment by regime forces in other parts of the Idlib region Sunday.

The militant stronghold includes most of Idlib province as well as parts of neighboring Aleppo, Hama and Latakia provinces.

Fighting raged in the north of Hama province between loyalists and militants from early Monday, the Observatory said, after relative respite in bombardment over the past three days.

Russian airplanes pounded the south of Idlib province, while government aircraft targeted the north of Hama province with machine guns, missiles, and crude barrel bombs, the monitoring group added.

The deadly Russian airstrikes come after Russia on Sunday said Syrian armed forces had "unilaterally ceased fire in the Idlib de-escalation zone" from May 18 at midnight, but that fire of loyalists had continued.

Russia and rebel ally Turkey inked a buffer zone deal to protect the Idlib region of some three million people in September, but regime fire has increased there since HTS took control in January.

Syria's war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions inside Syria and abroad since starting in March 2011 with a crackdown on anti-government protests.


 
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