Dozens of civilians killed in Syria airstrikes as Russia suffers first casualties in regime-held Daraa

Dozens of civilians killed in Syria airstrikes as Russia suffers first casualties in regime-held Daraa
3 min read
23 December, 2019
22 civilians were killed in ongoing airstrikes on Syria’s Idlib province as two Russian soldiers were shot dead in regime-controlled Daraa - the first Russian casualties in this area.
Refugees continued to flee from southern Idlib [Getty]
The civilian death toll from ongoing regime and Russian airstrikes in Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province reached 22 on Sunday, local sources told The New Arab’s Arabic-language service.

The dead in Idlib included one woman. At least seven civilians were also injured.

Six people were killed in the besieged city of Maaret al-Numan, where regime and Russian aircraft have trapped the civilians remaining in the city by bombing any vehicle attempting to evacuate people.

Another nine people were killed in airstrikes on the nearby towns of Telmans and Deir al-Sharqi, while another six people – four of them from the same family – were killed in the town of Maasaran.

Read more: Deadly Russian bombardment of Idlib is response to 'opposition rejection of land-grab proposal'

One man was killed when his car was hit by a bomb launched from a drone in northern Idlib province.

The regime also bombed the town of Khan Al-Subul, injuring five people, as well as cars transporting refugees on the strategic M5 highway, which connects the Syrian capital Damascus to the city of Aleppo and passes through Idlib province.

Russia and the regime resumed bombardment of rebel-held Idlib province in northwestern Syria in November after a two-month lull.

The regime has also advanced on the ground, capturing over 20 villages at the weekend. It is believed that the aim of the regime’s offensive is to capture the M5 highway.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the regime’s bombing campaign and on Sunday Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country “cannot handle a new refugee wave from Syria”.

Meanwhile, in the southern province of Daraa which was captured by the regime and Russia from Syrian rebels in July 2018, two Russian soldiers were shot and killed by unknown assailants in the city of Nawa in the west of the province.

These are the first casualties Russian forces have suffered in Daraa province, which remains restive despite its return to regime control.

A regime soldier was also killed in the town of Busra al-Harir in eastern Daraa province on Monday and another in Khan Arnaba in neighbouring Quneitra province, which borders the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Attacks by unknown assailants on regime checkpoints and positions in Daraa have increased recently, with 10 regime soldiers being killed over the weekend.

The Syrian conflict broke out in 2011 following the brutal suppression of protests by the Assad regime. Over 500,000 people have been killed, mostly as a result of regime bombardment of civilian areas.



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