Syria: dozens killed in fighting for Idlib

Many residents in the Idlib area are on the run. For Islamist rebels and soldiers of the government of dictator Bashar al-Assad are fighting for supremacy in the province. According to activists, dozens of people were killed.


According to activists, 69 fighters have been killed in heavy fighting between Syrian government forces and rebels in the rebel stronghold of Idlib. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the two-day fighting had been the most violent since the cease-fire occurred in the region at the end of August. The Rebel-based Observatory based in London receives its information from local activists. Independently, the information can hardly be verified.


Several attacks by former Syrian al-Qaeda kidnappers Hajat Tahrir al-Sham on positions of the government forces had triggered the battles. In response, the Assad forces, with the support of Russian troops, had launched airstrikes against Islamist rebels. According to the observatory, at least 36 government troops were among the dead.


Idlib as well as some districts of the provinces of Hama, Aleppo and Latakia are largely controlled by the jihadist militia Hajat Tahrir al-Sham and other Islamist militias. Since the end of April, the Syrian government forces and the Russian Air Force are again increasingly against them. The Observatory estimates that nearly one thousand civilians were killed in Syrian and Russian air strikes during the period from late April to late August alone. According to UN data, more than 400,000 people were displaced during this period.


On 31 August, the Russian army declared a unilateral ceasefire for the rebel bastion Idlib, which had been battling for months. However, according to the Observatory, there have since been regular attacks that killed dozens of civilians.


Since the Civil War broke out in Syria in 2011, more than 370,000 people have been killed and millions more displaced.

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