Monitor – Syrian govt attack kills 7 civilians in rebel bastion

Syria government military attacks

Beirut,  At least seven civilians were on Wednesday killed , among them are four children, after Syrian government forces shelled a rebel stronghold in the north-west of the war-torn country , a monitor reported.

The attack targeted the town of Ariha in the province of Idlib, the head of the Britain based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel-Rahman, told dpa.

Twenty other civilians were also injured in the shelling, he added.

Ahmed Sheikho, a spokesman of the rescue team White Helmets in Idlib, said four of the fatalities were natives of Ariha, which was hit by at least 40 shells.

He told dpa that White Helmets rescuers were also targeted by the Syrian government shelling, but had not suffered casualties.

Meanwhile non-profit World Vision said four adults and four children had died in the shelling.

`We are shocked every time we learn that more children have lost their lives in this war that has been going on for almost 10 years,’’ said Johan Mooij, head of the organisation’s Syria operations.

He added that two employees of a partner organisation were among the dead.

Idlib is the last rebel stronghold in Syria. Russia-supported Syrian government forces began an offensive in the region last year, provoking United Nations concerns over civilians’ safety there.

Russia and Iran back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey has been supporting opposition forces since the uprising started against al-Assad in 2011.

Elsewhere in Syria, pro-Iranian militiamen had killed 11 civilians in an area east of Homs in central Syria overnight Tuesday, the Observatory reported.

The watchdog added that militiamen had stolen sheep and burnt houses during the raid near the village of al-Rifai in rural Homs.

Some 15 people were also wounded in the attack, the monitor added.

Abdel-Rahman said that the area where the incident took place is mainly full of shepherds and there are some Islamic State cells.(dpa)


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