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Russian warplanes renew strikes on NW Syria

Forces loyal to the Bashar Assad regime and Russia on Wednesday renewed their attacks on Syria’s northwest, the last opposition region, as the United Nations warns of military escalation and urged for calm.

“Today, Russian warplanes renewed their airstrikes on northwestern Syria, targeting the western outskirts of Idlib city and the outskirts Sarjah village in the southern countryside of Idlib. Our teams inspected the targeted areas and did not report any civilian casualties,” the White Helmets civil defense group said, adding that civilian areas were also shelled in Aleppo’s villages.

The Syrian regime and its ally Russia have regularly targeted hospitals and civilian areas since the start of the war in 2011.

The Idlib region bordering Turkey is home to about 3 million people and it is one of the last pockets to oppose Damascus.

For years, the Assad regime has ignored the needs and safety of the Syrian people, only eyeing further territory gains and crushing the opposition. With this aim, the regime has for years bombed civilian facilities such as schools, hospitals and residential areas, causing the displacement of almost half of the country's population.

The Idlib de-escalation zone was forged under an agreement between Turkey and Russia. The area has been the subject of multiple cease-fire agreements, which have been frequently violated by the Assad regime and its allies.

On the other side, the U.N.’s special envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, warned that “troubling signs of military escalation on several axes” have been seen recently.

Pedersen, in a briefing to the security council on Monday, said that the PKK’s Syrian wing, the YPG, on Aug.11 “publicly acknowledged killing Turkish soldiers on the border, inside Turkish territory.”

“Syrian state media said that the government carried out strikes on Turkish and armed opposition sites inside Syria,” he added, acknowledging the attacks by the Assad regime and the YPG on Türkiye. Ankara has recently stepped up its calls to eliminate the threat of the terrorist organization.

Türkiye, which has mounted four operations in northern Syria since 2016, has vowed a new operation against YPG terrorists that control swathes of territory near the Turkish border.

Pedersen renewed his call for a nationwide cease-fire as well as “parallel efforts to address the extensive presence of listed terrorist groups, in a cooperative manner that is in line with international law and protects civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

© Turkuvaz Haberleşme ve Yayıncılık 2021


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