Witnesses say Russian fighter planes bombed Idlib Reuters, controlled by Syrian rebels

© Reuters. File photo: Aerial view of the Kafr Arouk camp for internally displaced persons after heavy rains in Idlib, Syria, December 20, 2021. Photo taken with drone on December 20, 2021. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi/File Photo

Suleiman Al Khalidi

Amman (Reuters)-Witnesses and rebel sources said Russian jets bombed the area near the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib on Sunday, marking the arrival of the last fortress controlled by the opposition. One year.

The fighter plane flying at high altitude, the tracking center said to be a Russian Sukhoi jet, dropped bombs on several towns and a major water pumping station to serve the overpopulated city of Idlib with a population of more than 1 million.

The Russian or Syrian forces did not immediately comment, saying their target was a hiding place for militant groups that controlled the area but denied any attacks on civilians.

An official of the city’s water company said that the company had stopped operations due to the strike.

A senior UN official who confirmed that the water station was “severely damaged” in the airstrikes said that such attacks have exacerbated the humanitarian plight of millions of displaced Syrians.

“Continued destruction of civilian infrastructure will only cause more suffering to civilians. Attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure must stop,” Mark Katz, the United Nations Deputy Regional Humanitarian Coordinator, said in a tweet.

Witnesses stated that the attacks in the rebel-controlled enclaves in the past 24 hours also attacked livestock and poultry farms near the Bab al Hawa border crossing with Turkey.

“Russians are focusing on infrastructure and economic assets. This will increase people’s suffering,” said Abu Hazem Idlibi, an opposition government official.

Residents and rescuers said that other targets included villages in the Jabal al-Zawiya area in southern Idlib. There have been no reports of casualties.

The Civil Defense Department stated that a series of attacks after midnight on Saturday hit temporary camps that housed thousands of displaced families near Jisr al Shuqhur, west of Idlib. Two children and a woman were killed. Ten civilians were injured.

Since November, the air strikes have been relatively quiet. The new Russian-led battles and the reinforcement of Turkish troops in the enclaves have triggered the prospect of a more widespread violent recovery.

Nearly two years ago, Russia, which supports the army of Syrian President Bashar al Assad (Bashar al Assad), and Turkey, which supports opposition groups, reached an agreement that ended the displacement of more than 1 million people within a few months. fighting.

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