Russian strikes on Syria’s Idlib

A refugee camp A refugee camp Julie Ricard on Unsplash

13 December 2021

Russian fighter jets continue their attacks on Syria’s Idlib amidst the tension between the countries

Russian SU-34 type fighter jets bombed the rural regions of Idlib. Since September 2015, Russia has been fighting in Syria alongside the Syrian armed forces. The Idlib province is the last stronghold of the rebel and jihadist groups that have been trying to overthrow President Assad since 2011. Idlib continues to suffer from the Bashar al-Assad regime, supported by Russia. In light of recent moves coordinated with many Arab states, Assad is keen to retake the last refuge of the opposition and restore political relations with regional countries. 

The attacks often lead to the deaths of women and children. On 11 December 2021, three people, including one child, died in another attack carried out by Russia. Earlier, on 28 November  2021, ten children from one family were injured as Russian forces bombed their houses with artillery shells in Marzaf village south of Idlib. The area covered under the Idlib demilitarization agreement between Turkey and Russia, which came into effect on 17 September 2018, has been frequently subjected to violence by the Assad regime. The attack on the outskirts of al-Jadeeda village west of Idlib also injured 13 people, including nine children. From 26 April to 19 August, 843 civilians were killed when Russia and the Syrian regime targeted Idlib's de-escalation zone.

Nearly 3 million people live in the Idlib region, with two-thirds of them displaced from other regions of Syria, and the recent offensive caused one of the largest one time displacements in the history of the Syrian civil war, according to the United Nations. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) records that about 75% of the total population in the opposition-held Idlib province relies on humanitarian aid to meet their basic requirements, with 1.6 million people still living in camps or informal settlements.

For years, the Assad administration has ignored the Syrian people's needs and safety. The regime has bombarded civilian infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals, and residential neighborhoods, in order to achieve this goal. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, frequent bombarding and shelling have knocked down nearly half of Syria's health institutions, when the Syrian people need them the most. Many people are struggling to meet their basic demands in overcrowded tent camps or even out in the open in safe locations near the Turkish border. The Assad government and Russia appear to have already violated the laws of war with deadly consequences for civilians, now reaching a horrifying new level. 


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Author: Niranjana J Anil; Editor: Tiago Cotogni

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