Syria regime artillery fire kills six civilians in hospital


ATAREB (AFP) – Syrian regime artillery fire killed six civilians including a child when it hit a hospital in the last major rebel bastion of Idlib on Sunday, a war monitor said.

The attack in the northwestern town of Atareb came despite a Russian-Turkish ceasefire since March 2020 supposed to protect the wider jihadist-held stronghold.

It “hit the courtyard and main entrance of the hospital inside a cave,” killing six civilians including a child and a hospital employee, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Eleven others were wounded, including healthcare staff.

Also on Sunday, artillery fire killed two civilians in the regime-held city of Aleppo, outside the rebel bastion, state news agency SANA said.

The Idlib region is home to 2.9 million people, of whom two thirds have been displaced from their homes by conflict, the United Nations says.

The region on the border with Turkey is controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which is led by members of Syria s former Al-Qaeda affiliate, but several rebel groups are also present.

The ceasefire brokered by rebel backer Turkey and regime ally Russia last March stemmed a months-long regime military offensive on the bastion that killed hundreds of civilians and displaced more than a million people.

It has since largely held despite repeated violations including Russian air strikes on the region, according to the Observatory.

On Sunday afternoon, Russian air strikes hit a gas factory near the town of Sarmada near the Turkish border, the war monitor said.

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