Shelling exchange kills nine in Syria’s Idlib, injures dozens in Aleppo city

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Government shelling killed nine people on Saturday in Syria’s rebel-held Idlib, a monitor said, and state media said insurgent shells wounded dozens in Aleppo causing breathing problems.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the two women and seven children were killed in Jarjanaz village in Idlib province, where Russia and Turkey have agreed a buffer zone.

The UK-based Observatory also said shelling on Aleppo city, which in under government control, wounded at least 24 people including four children, causing breathing difficulties.

State news agency SANA said militants hit two districts of Aleppo with shells containing substances that caused 44 people to choke.

The deal to create the demilitarized zone staved off an army offensive against the Idlib region, including nearby parts of Aleppo and Hama provinces.

Intermittent exchanges of fire have broken out in northwest Syria since the agreement between Russia, a key ally of Damascus, and Turkey, which backs some rebel factions.

The United Nations says nearly 3 million people live in the northwest region and has warned against a battle to restore state rule there.

Among an array of factions controlling Idlib, the dominant force is Tahrir al-Sham, an Islamist alliance led by fighters formerly linked to al Qaeda.

Earlier this month, Moscow accused insurgents of trying to wreck the deal, while rebels accused the Syrian army and its allies of attacking the region.

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