UPDATES WITH FRESH DEATH TOLL
By Esref Musa, Mehmet Burak Karacaoglu and Adham Kako
IDLIB, Syria (AA) - A total of 11 civilians, including five children, were killed by artillery fire in an area of northwestern Syria under a nominal cease-fire, local sources said on Thursday.
Eleven civilians were killed in the attacks, including five children and three women, carried out by Assad regime forces and Iranian-backed terror groups in the embattled Idlib province, Syria’s Civil Defense (White Helmets) said.
The regime and its allies have continued intensified air and land attacks on civilian settlements in the zone.
In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
But more than 1,800 civilians have been killed in attacks by regime and Russian forces since then, flouting both the 2018 cease-fire and a new one that started this January.
More than 1.7 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks over the past year.
Attacks by the regime and its allies have also targeted Turkish soldiers on a peace mission in the region in recent weeks.
Turkey remains the country with the most refugees in the world, hosting more than 3.7 million migrants since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.
*Writing by Gozde Bayar