Twelve killed in Idlib bombing – HTS fighters among them – VIDEO
Defence Redefined
Published on 11/06/2021 at 09:18

At least 12 people, mostly fighters of the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) paramilitary organization, were killed yesterday, Thursday, in bombings by the Syrian regime in Idlib province, the last stronghold of jihadists and rebels in Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The bombings took place despite a ceasefire negotiated by Russia and has been in force since March 2020. According to the UK-based NGO, the strikes first targeted a private car in southern Idlib, a province in northwestern Syria. A second rocket was launched at Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) jihadists and members of organizations affiliated with the group, which is the dominant organization in the province, when they gathered at the site of the initial attack, according to the same source. At least 12 people were killed, including a man, a woman, two children and eight fighters, members of the HTS and Turkish-backed alliances, according to the Observatory.

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The attack is among the deadliest since March 2020, when a ceasefire negotiated between Moscow and Ankara came into force. A representative of HTS and coordinator of the organization’s propaganda media is among the victims, always according to the NGO. A French Agency correspondent in the area saw a house destroyed, a car charred and the bodies of several victims lined up on the ground. In an announcement distributed to journalists via Whatsapp, HTS confirmed that three of its members are among the dead.

Ibrahim Harmus, a resident, said many people had gathered on the street after the first strike, which had resulted in an increase in the number of victims in the second. “We woke up in the morning to the sound of bombs and artillery fire,” he said.

HTS, the Syrian branch of al Qaeda, along with organizations allied with it, control more than half of Idlib and areas of the neighboring provinces of Hamas and Latakia. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the southern part of Idlib has been the target of Russian airstrikes and artillery fire repeatedly over the past five days. More than three million people live in the countryside. Two-thirds are displaced from areas recaptured by the regime. Despite its repeated violations, also by Russian raids, the ceasefire is generally observed since March 2020.

The war in Syria, which broke out in 2011 and became extremely complicated over the years with the involvement of various warring parties – to name but a fiew, jihadist organizations, guerrilla groups, separatist factions, foreign forces – has cost the lives of about 500,000 people, according to estimates published by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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