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Syrian regime airstrikes kill 14 in Idlib as bombardment continues Open in fullscreen

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Syrian regime airstrikes kill 14 in Idlib as bombardment continues

White Helmet volunteers rescue a child from a building destroyed by regime airstrikes [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 29 May, 2019

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Wednesday's attacks, which have claimed the lives of at least 14 people, mark a month since regime forces escalated their offensive on the rebel stronghold in northwestern Syria.
Syrian activists and rescuers say regime warplanes and artillery have pounded the last rebel stronghold in the country, killing at least 14 people by midday.

Wednesday's attacks mark a month since regime forces escalated their offensive on the opposition stronghold in northwestern Syria, home to 3 million people.

Airstrikes, some using deadly barrel bombs, and shelling by both regime and Russian warplanes have claimed a mounting civilian toll.

The violence, which has rattled a fragile truce deal brokered by Moscow and Ankara in September, is causing mass displacement. The UN has warned its humanitarian operations in the region are at risk.

At least 27 civilians died in similar circumstances on Tuesday, in the single highest civilian death toll in the region since Damascus increased attacks in late April.

On Wednesday, aerial bombardment did not relent.

Rescuers say they struggled to respond to the intense bombing that began before dawn. Civil defense volunteers, known as White Helmets, said at least 15 were killed in Baraa, Sarja and Habeet villages in southern Idlib.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and activist-operated Baladi news agency reported 14 killed. Syrian state media said one woman was killed in government-held northern Hama province after rebel shelling of the area.

The regime has not announced an all-out offensive to retake Idlib, most of which is controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a group dominated by former members of al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate.

Analysts predict that the government of President Bashar al-Assad and its allies will continue to chip away at the area but not unleash a major assault that would create chaos on Turkey's doorstep.

The civilian death toll has mounted in and around Idlib in recent days, reaching more than 270 over the past month, according to the Observatory. 

Agencies contributed to this report.

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