Dust-covered man and his children shelter after Assad shelling of northern Hama Province, April 6, 2019


Deadly Assad regime shelling of Idlib Province continues this morning.

Local reports say at least four people have been killed in Saraqeb in eastern Idlib. Five are dead in Nairab, including a woman and child, and more than 16 wounded, three of them critically. At least one civilian is dead and others wounded from shelling on Khoain in southern Idlib.

Assad regime forces renewed their shelling of Idlib Province in northwest Syria on Saturday, following its deadliest attacks in weeks on the opposition area.

The regime again bombarded Kafranbel, where at least 12 people were killed on Thursday when a crowded market was shelled. More than 20 civilians were slain throughout Idlib on Wednesday and Thursday.

Yesterday’s assault killed a child and injured 20 people, including five women and seven children.

The regime escalated assaults in mid-February, killing scores of people and breaking a demilitarized zone declared by Russia and Turkey last September.

More than two dozen sites were attacked on Saturday, more of them in eastern Idlib

Regime forces also fired artillery on opposition areas in northern Hama Province. The White Helmets civil defense said two men and one woman were killed and seven others were wounded so far, as 17 villages and towns were shelled.

One of the targets was the Jebal Shashabo, which has a Turkish military observation post.

The bombardment included Russian-supplied BM-30 Smerch rockets, with a range of more than 50 km (31 miles); 300-mm rockets, and internationally-banned cluster munitions.

The regime has never adhered to the 15 to 20-km wide and 100-km long zone around Idlib and northern Hama Provinces, shelling towns on the periphery. But in the past six weeks, the attacks have intensified, with at least 47 people killed in a 10-day period in February.

Russia has occasionally joined with airstrikes, including on Idlib city, despite its proclamation of the zone. Moscow uses the pretext that it is attacking “terorrists”.

Earlier this week, Russian officials provided cover for the regime with the lie that French and Belgian intelligence services are assisting White Helmets rescuers in staging “false flag” chemical attacks in Idlib.

More than three million people — more than 20% of Syria’s population — live in Idlib and northern Hama. Many of them have been displaced by regime attacks on their home areas during the country’s eight-year conflict.