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Worse may still come in Syria, after airstrikes in Idlib

Worse may still come in Syria, after airstrikes in Idlib”

Deadly clashes erupted overnight as jihadist fighters attacked two besieged regime-controlled villages in northwestern Syria, a monitor said on Sunday.

Late Saturday, fighters from Al-Qaeda's former Syrian affiliate attacked Fuaa and Kafraya, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"This is the fiercest attack in around three years", SOHR head Rami Abdel Rahman told Agence France-Presse.

Fighting on the edge of the towns began early morning Friday, shortly after airstrikes carried out by Syrian warplanes on the village of Zardana in northeast Idlib killed at least 51 terrorists.

Around 10,000 people, a lot of them Shiite Muslims, are estimated to live in the two villages.

"We are alarmed by the renewed escalation of hostilities and hope that the guarantors will redouble their efforts to avoid seeing a scenario like that of East Gutta or Aleppo again, ' the United Nations coordinator stated, because after evacuating the civilians from these two cities to Idlib, 'there is no other location to move them any more", Moumtzis added.

They came under siege in 2015, when rebels ousted regime forces from the vast majority of Idlib province.

HTS and its allies control around 60 percent of the province, its local rivals hold about a third, and the regime controls about ten percent, according to the Observatory.

Islamic State and other militant groups are mingled in the population in Idlib, making it a "highly explosive" situation, he said.

"The past seven years of war in Syria have shown that violence only fuels more violence, hatred and vengeance - and further fragmentation of a society torn apart".

Troops have employed the tactic alongside heavy bombing to cut off food and medicine to rebel-held areas, then coerce people to agree to leave in population transfer deals.

Last week, clashes between HTS and a Daesh sleeper cell made up of Iraqi extremists left more than two dozen fighters dead, mostly from Daesh.

In retaliation, the IS cell executed five HTS fighters it had abducted in Idlib, the Observatory said.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed deep concern over airstrikes that reportedly targeted Syria's rebel-held Idlib province last week, killing dozens, including children, reported Associated Press of Pakistan (APP).

Idlib, which remains under opposition control, was designated as a "de-escalation zone" in which acts of aggression are expressly forbidden in May of past year.



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