Monitor the war, rescue groups blame the government for the attacks; the death toll is one of the highest since the ceasefire went into effect in March last year.
At least eight civilians, including six children, were killed in bombings and artillery fire by Syrian government forces with Russian support in Idlib on Saturday, according to a war monitor and a rescue group.
The attacks also injured 16 people at various locations in the Jabal al-Zawiya area, south of the fortress, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
He killed five members of the same family in the village of Iblin, two children in the village of Balyun and another child in the village of Balshun, he said.
The Syrian Civil Defense, a volunteer search and rescue group also known as the White Helmets, operating in rebel parts of Syria, confirmed the death.
“A horrific massacre committed by Russia and regime forces this morning in the #Idlib camp, where eight civilians … were killed,” the group said dit on Twitter, adding that search and rescue efforts were still underway.
In Iblin, a photographer from the AFP news agency saw how the bodies of the family arrived at a health clinic, wrapped in wool and cotton blankets.
Nurses and others prepared the bodies for burial, cleaning a boy’s bloodied corpse before wrapping it in gauze, he said.
The image is of Jabal al-Zawiya: an entire family lost their lives as a result of having attacked their house with Russian shells. pic.twitter.com/7syaLyNdxK
– IDLIB PLUS (@IdlibPlus) July 3, 2021
Translation: The image is of Jabal al-Zawiya, where an entire family lost their lives due to the Russian bombing that ran their home.
The death toll on Saturday is one of the highest since the international ceasefire went into effect in March last year to protect the rebel-dominated stronghold from a government offensive.
Much of the Idlib enclave is controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an armed group that includes former members of Syria’s al-Qaeda franchise.
But violations of the truce, promoted by government ally Russia and opposition sponsor Turkey, are frequent as government forces maintain pressure on the rebel enclave.
In recent weeks, Russian warplanes have hit the southern Idlib region along with artillery shelling by government forces, according to SOHR.
Meanwhile, hundreds of humanitarian workers formed a human chain north of Idlib on Friday, urging the international community to keep open the only border crossing to help the rebel region.
“Humanitarian aid is a right, not a privilege,” said a sign held by aid workers, while others were in a pattern on the road, so the words “save the lifeline” they were visible from the air.
On July 10, a UN permit to aid traffic through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing from Turkey to Syria expires.
Humanitarian organizations fear that Russia will block a UN Security Council vote to renew it for a year.
Wassim Bakir, of the Syrian charity Banafsaj, said that blocking cross-border aid would be a “humanitarian catastrophe”.
The rebel-held province of Idlib is now facing a rapid coronavirus pandemic, while much of its sanitation facilities are in ruins. About three million people live in the region, most of whom are internally displaced.
The war in Syria has killed nearly 500,000 people since it began in 2011 with the brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.