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The New Arab

Russian airstrikes kill 27 civilians in Idlib and Aleppo

The campaign of airstrikes on civilian areas aims to bring the opposition its knees [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 January, 2020

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Women and babies were among the dead, as Syrian regime forces and their Russian allies resumed their campaign seize decisive control of the northeast of the country.
At least 27 Syrian civillians were killed and 40 others injured on Tuesday evening, with the number of casaulties expected to rise, as towns and villages in Idlib and Allepo lay witness to the latest carnage wrought by joint Syrian and Russian airstrikes.   

The dramatic upsurge in violence in the neighbouring provinces follows failed diplomatic attempts to reduce hostilities in the region, with Moscow breaking its own  declared ceasefire less than two weeks ago.  

According to the White Helmets civil defence group, Syrian regime forces and their Russian allies pummled more that 16 municipalities in the Aleppo countryside, using incendiary bombs and missiles, The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site reported.

No family left

The majority of the fatalities, which included women and children, occured in the villages Kufr Taal and Kufr Nouran, where an airstrike killed nine members of the same family.

"God take revenge on all tyrants. There is no one else left in my family, they are all gone," Abu Yasser, 71, a relative of the family, told Reuters

Read more: Nine members of the same family killed in suspected Russian strikes in northwest Syria

Sources in Aleppo's countryside who spoke to The New Arab also reported that attack helicopters dropped 15 barrel bombs on civilian areas, raising entire settlements to the ground. 

In the Idlib countryside, at least 15 civillians were killed or injured in suspected Russian airstikes, one of which which targetted a football stadium in Bara, located southwest of Idlib, resulting in the deaths of two and injuring four, including two young children.

Russian and Syrian regime warplanes have hit rural opposition area hard since the millitary campaign, bolstered by Iranian militias began in December last year.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, said that Russian air forces conducted 69 strikes against targets in Idlib province and Allepo within the past week.



Towns in ruin

"Over the past three days, the bombardment on Idlib and its surroundings, including in western Aleppo, has been exclusively Russian," said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

"They want to push rebels and jihadists away from the city of Aleppo and from the motorway linking Aleppo to Damascus."

Supported by heavy artillery and Russian commando forces moving deep into rebel held territory, aerial bombings have left dozens of towns in ruins and knocked down hospitals and schools, according to rescuers and aid agencies.

Most of Idlib and parts of Aeppo still remain within the grip of factions opposed to President Bashar al-Assad's regime, including Al-Qaeda former Syria afilliate.

The Assad regime controls about 70 percent of the country after nearly nine years of war, has vowed to recapture the region.  

Airstikes on civillian areas resumed ten days ago, in what residents see as a strategy of bringing the armed opposition to its knees by striking civilians.

United Nations officials said last week that a humanitarian crisis in the region had worsened, with at least 350, 000 civillians displaced.

Earlier bouts of fighting have seen half a million people fleeing to the safety of camps near the border with Turkey, which is a key backer of various rebel factions.

Agencies contributed to this report 

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