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The New Arab

Child killed by sniper fire as refugees return home to Syria's Aleppo

Syrian refugees have been returning to their destroyed homes [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 May, 2020

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A child has been killed by sniper fire in Syria’s western Aleppo province as refugees returned to their homes following a period of extended calm in the war-ravaged area.
A child was killed by regime gunfire in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo on Monday night, while refugees were returning to their homes following a period of relative calm.

Local sources told The New Arab’s Arabic-language service that the child was killed near the town of Abzimo in rebel-held western Aleppo province by sniper fire from the “Fauj 46” military base, which is held by regime troops.

The sources confirmed the area is covered by a March 5 ceasefire agreement guaranteed by Russia, the Assad regime’s main backer, and Turkey, which has supported Syrian rebels.

While the regime has frequently violated the ceasefire in neighbouring Idlib province, western Aleppo province is relatively quiet and thousands of refugees have returned there recently.

At the end of last year the regime, supported by Russia, launched a brutal military campaign against rebel-held areas of northern Syria, killing hundreds of people and displacing more than a million more.

Read more: Foreign hands in Syria's war creating new problems for Assad

The Syrian “First Responders Team” humanitarian NGO said it has documented the return of over 270,000 refugees to rebel-held areas of Aleppo and Idlib provinces since the ceasefire agreement went into force.

The returnees face great hardship because most of their homes and the local infrastructure has been destroyed. The First Responders Team has called on the UN and humanitarian agencies to provide more aid to the war-ravaged area.

However, many returnees say they prefer to go back to their destroyed homes rather than live in the makeshift and chaotic refugee camps which Syrians were forced to flee to during the regime assault.

“One room in my house is better than a tent. I’m comfortable in my house even if it’s destroyed but life is difficult and there is nothing – no water or electricity,” Abu Wael, who had returned to his partially destroyed home in the rebel-held city of Atareb, told The New Arab’s Arabic service.

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