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Syrian regime aircraft pound Idlib amid fierce clashes with rebels Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Syrian regime aircraft pound Idlib amid fierce clashes with rebels

Smoke rises following regime shelling of the village of Sheikh Mustafa in Idlib province (Getty)

Date of publication: 12 May, 2019

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Syrian regime aircraft carried out 20 airstrikes on opposition-held towns in Idlib province while attempting to advance further in northern Hama province amid an exacerbating humanitarian crisis.

Syrian regime forces continued their advance on opposition-held northern Hama province and Idlib province on Saturday, carrying out more than 20 airstrikes on opposition-held towns.

In the early hours of Saturday morning regime aircraft struck the towns of Maarat Hurma and Ihsem in southern Idlib province while helicopters dropped barrel bombs on the towns of Rakaya and Naqir.

Fierce fighting took place between regime ground forces and the opposition in the village of Karkat on the border between Hama and Idlib province with The New Arab’s correspondent reporting opposition fighters repelled regime fighters after destroying two of their vehicles.

Syria TV said that 15 regime troops were killed in Karkat by opposition fighters. The village is five kilometres away from a Turkish observation post.

In the past few days regime forces have captured the strategic towns of Kafr Naboudah and Qalaat al-Madiq in northern Hama province with little resistance from opposition forces.

The regime’s latest offensive against Idlib Province began on 30 April and is taking place despite a ceasefire agreement signed in September 2018, which established a demilitarised zone around opposition held areas of northern Syria, and was guaranteed by Russia, Turkey, and Iran.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights has said that at least 544 people have been killed since the agreement was signed.

A humanitarian crisis has unfolded as more than 150,000 people have fled the regime’s bombardment in Idlib.

There are currently around three million people in the province, about half of which refugees from other parts of Syria, but refugee camps are unable to absorb the newly displaced people.

The United Nations has also suspended aid to Idlib province, saying that regime and Russian bombing was jeopardising the safety of aid workers.

The New Arab’s correspondent reported that the situation was relatively calm on Sunday morning following Turkish calls for a halt to the regime operation.

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