Eight civilians, including child, killed in clashes between Syrian army, militias

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Eight civilians, including a child, were killed Monday during exchanges of fire between the army and militias in northwestern Syria, with 19 others wounded, a war monitor said.

The fighting pitted the army of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an extremist group led by Al-Qaeda’s former Syria branch.

“An elderly man, a woman and her young daughter were killed and 10 other civilians were wounded in a bombardment by the HTS on the villages of Nubul and Zahraa, in a part of Aleppo province controlled by the Syrian regime,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

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HTS and other groups control swathes of Idlib province and parts of neighbouring Aleppo, Hama and Latakia provinces.

The Syrian army retaliated by bombing residential areas of Darat Izza town in Aleppo, killing three civilians and wounding nine others, the Observatory said.

The Britain-based war monitor, which has a network of sources inside Syria, said the bombardments struck a bakery, a mosque, a power plant and a popular market.

Army artillery fire killed two other civilians in the Aleppo village of Burj Haidar, the Observatory said.

A brutal Syrian government crackdown on Arab Spring-inspired protests that erupted in 2011 spiralled into a devastating war involving foreign armies, militias and extemists.

More than half a million people have been killed in the conflict.

Last week, Russian air strikes on Idlib province, killed five civilians from the same family, including three children, according to rescuers and the Observatory.

Moscow is one of Assad’s key backers, providing him with military, political and economic support in the country’s civil war.

Russia’s intervention in the war since 2015 has helped forces loyal to Assad claw back much of the territory they lost in the conflict.

A ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey was declared in Idlib after a Syrian government offensive in March 2020, but it has been repeatedly violated.

With AFP

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