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28 killed in devastating airstrikes, raids in Idlib and Damascus despite Syria ceasefire Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

28 killed in devastating airstrikes, raids in Idlib and Damascus despite Syria ceasefire

Children were evacuated following the strikes [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 January, 2020

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Syrian regime airstrikes have killed 15 people in Idlib city despite a ceasefire declared last week.

At least 15 people have been killed and 65 injured as regime aircraft bombed commercial and industrial areas of the city of Idlib on Wednesday, in violation of a ceasefire declared last week.

The New Arab’s correspondent in Idlib said that warplanes had bombed the Al-Hal vegetable market and the Sina’a industrial district in the rebel-held city, which is the capital of the province of the same name.

Syrian Civil Defence workers rushed to rescue people trapped under rubble. Some of the injured are in critical condition and the death toll is likely to rise.

One civil defence worker was among those killed.

The bombardment charred several vehicles in the industrial zone, leaving torched corpses of motorists trapped inside, an AFP correspondent said.

One man was seen running towards the site of the attack, slapping his forehead with both hands in despair.

Mustafa, who runs a repair shop in the area, was lucky to escape with his life. He had just left the store to pick up some spare parts.

He told AFP he returned to find the shop destroyed and his four employees trapped under rubble. It was not immediately clear if they had survived.

"This is not the neighbourhood I left two minutes ago!" Mustafa said, tears rolling down his face.

Earlier on Wednesday, Russian planes bombed the town of Hass in southern Idlib province, killing one civilian, as well as the city of Ariha in the west of the rebel-held province, injuring seven people.

The Civil Defence also said that their centre in the village of Bazabour in northwestern Idlib province was put out of service by regime strikes.

On Tuesday evening, Russian airstrikes targeted several areas of the rebel-held Syrian province causing only material damage, only two days after a ceasefire declared by Russia itself went into effect.

More than 300,000 people have fled their homes in Idlib province since last month, following fierce bombardment by Russia and the Assad regime. Over 3 million people, most of them women and children are trapped in the area according to the United Nations, and refugee camps have no more capacity for displaced people.

Russia has previously announced ceasefires in rebel-held areas only to break them at will. Analysts believe that the Assad regime and Russia are following a piecemeal strategy which will gradually allow them to take control of the whole of Idlib province.

Read more: How Russia uses 'de-escalation agreements' to destroy cities in Syria


Deadly raids near the Syrian-Lebanese border

Meanwhile local sources told The New Arab that regime forces assisted by the Iran-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah had raided a house in the town of Rankous in the formerly rebel-held area of Qalamoun north of Damascus, killing eight people.

The sources said that the raids took place after the regime learned that wanted opponents of the regime were hiding in the house. However other sources said that the occupants of the house were not wanted rebels but youths that the regime wanted to draft into its army.

After being discovered, the people in the house did not surrender, according to the sources, but fired on regime troops with light weapons. Eight of them were killed as well as a regime officer and three regime soldiers. Two of the occupants of the house were injured and detained by the regime.

Rankous was an opposition stronghold until 2014, when the regime and its allied militias captured it.

More than 500,000 people have been killed and millions more displaced since the Syrian conflict began in 2011, after the Assad regime’s brutal suppression of pro-democracy protests.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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