Syria crisis

Syrian regime shelling kills four children in Idlib: Monitor

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Regime shelling has killed four children in Syria’s last major opposition bastion in the northwest of the country, a Britain-based war monitor said Sunday.

The artillery fire late Saturday hit a residential area in the south of the extremist-dominated bastion of Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

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The victims in the village of Qastoun in the Hama province were from the same family, it said.

The Idlib region is home to nearly three million people, two-thirds of them displaced from other parts of the country during the decade-long civil war.

It is dominated by Syria’s former al-Qaeda affiliate, but opposition forces and other extremists are also present.

A ceasefire deal brokered by regime ally Russia and opposition backer Turkey has largely protected the region from a new government offensive since March 2020.

But regime forces have stepped up their shelling on the south of the bastion since June.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad took the oath of office for a new term last month, vowing to make “liberating those parts of the homeland that still need to be” one of his top priorities.

Syria’s war has killed around half a million people since starting in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.

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