Regime shelling kills seven civilians in Syria: Monitor

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Shelling by government forces targeting several locations in opposition-held northwest Syria killed seven civilians including four children on Saturday, a war monitor said.

The Damascus regime has been bombing opposition-held areas in apparent retaliation for an attack on a military academy graduation ceremony in Homs on Thursday that killed dozens of people.

“Seven civilians, including four children, were killed in ground bombardment by regime forces on several locations” on Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor reported.

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It said three civilians, among them two children, died when government forces shelled a market and homes in the city of Idlib, and two more children were killed in shelling on the Idlib countryside.

Two men were also killed in separate bombardments in Aleppo and Idlib provinces, said the Britain-based monitor which has a wide network of sources inside Syria.

Swathes of Idlib province and parts of the neighboring Aleppo, Hama and Latakia provinces are controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), led by al-Qaeda’s former Syria branch.

The Observatory said that more than 30 people, mostly civilians, had been killed in government bombardment of opposition-held areas since the Homs attack on Thursday.

State media said the attack on the academy had killed 89, while the Observatory reporting a higher toll of 123 dead.

No group has claimed responsibility for the Homs attack, but the Syrian army accused “armed terrorist organizations” for the attack that used “explosive-laden drones,” and vowed to “respond with full force.”

HTS is considered a terrorist group by Damascus, as well as by the United States and United Nations.

Civil war erupted in Syria after President Bashar al-Assad’s government crushed peaceful protests in 2011.

The conflict has killed more than half a million people and displaced millions after spiraling into a devastating war involving foreign armies, militias and extremists.

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