Rebel HQ in Idlib city hit as pro-Assad forces continue attacks elsewhere in province
As pro-Assad forces continue bombing of Idlib Province in northwest Syria, hoping to overrun opposition-held territory, an explosion in Idlib city has killed at least 23 people.
The blast in the city targeted the headquarters of a smaller rebel faction. It is unclear whether the assault was on the ground from a car bomb, or from the air via a drone.
No group has claimed responsibility.
The headquarter and neighboring houses were destroyed. Local sources said most of the deaths were fighters, but at least seven civilians were killed and several people are missing.
Meanwhile, pro-Assad airstrikes continued across the province, as the Assad regime and its foreign allies try to advance in the southeast as well as neighboring northern Hama Province.
The offensive has taken a series of villages, and reports on Sunday said there is fighting for the town of Sinjar.
Nominally, Russia, Turkey, and Iran have declared a “de-escalation zone”, but the Russians are continuing to bomb on the pretext of fighting the hardline Islamist bloc Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which it says is excluded from the agreement.
The opposition has held almost of Idlib Province since spring 2015. More than two million of Syria’s remaining population — many of them displaced from other parts of the country — are in the area.
Dr Shajul Islam explains the difficulties as pro-Assad attacks knock out medical clinics:
It’s been a while… I’ve had to reduce my online presence… Some very hard times are upon us. For my safety, we have to delay sharing with you how we are working to save lives, as our hospitals are all being taken out one by one. https://t.co/Ix6dp3Htvb pic.twitter.com/2ErYZFHh9Z
— Dr Shajul Islam (@DrShajulIslam) January 7, 2018
Another 23 Killed in Pro-Assad Bombing of East Ghouta
Another 23 people have been killed and 150 injured in pro-Assad bombardment of the besieged opposition area of East Ghouta, close to Damascus, according to pro-opposition activists.
At least six of the dead are children.
State Media: Reinforcements Reach Key Base
Syrian State media say reinforcements have reached a key base under rebel attack in East Ghouta.
State TV said troops were able to move past rebels who have surrounded the Military Vehicles Administration base near Harasta.
Pro-opposition media say pro-Assad forces are continuing to take significant losses, with more than 35 troops killed in the past 48 hours.
Last Sunday, rebels took part of the complex, which is the site for much of the rocketing and shelling of opposition-held East Ghouta as pro-Assad forces try to overrun the area.
Almost 50 regime troops and militia were killed within 24 hours, and five generals have reportedly been slain in the battle. At least 200 troops continued to hold out in part of the base.
Despite a “de-escalation zone” agreed between Russia and rebels this summer, the Assad regime and its foreign allies have continued bombardment and tightened the siege of an area with almost 400,000 residents.