Syrian airstrikes kill at least 20 civilians in effort to retake rebel areas
Dec. 03, 2019
BEIRUT – Airstrikes hit marketplaces in two rebel-held towns in northwestern Syria on Monday, killing at least 10 civilians and injuring dozens, a civil defense group in Syria's Idlib Province said.
The attacks marked what could be the start of a new push by Syrian government forces to retake one of the few remaining bastions held by rebels, contributing to one of the bloodiest days for Syrians in the area in months.
Hours after the Idlib attacks, an airstrike by Turkish forces occupying part of northern Syria hit the nearby Kurdish-held town of Tal Rifaat, also killing 10 civilians, mostly children, said a spokesman for a Kurdish-led military group.
The Idlib attack comes amid renewed fighting around the final rebel bastion in northwestern Syria that is crammed with civilians displaced from elsewhere in the country and radical Islamist fighters. In the past week, the Syrian army has been pushing into the territory, recapturing villages and causing dozens of casualties.
Footage released by the civilian rescue team known as the White Helmets showed pools of blood staining the ground in front of piles of onions and lettuce at a market in the town of Maaret al-Numan. The group said at least nine were killed in Maaret al-Numan and one in nearby Saraqeb, where a market also was struck.
Syria's Idlib Province and some surrounding areas are the last pockets held by the rebel factions that have fought Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces since 2011. Over the past two years, the province has become a dumping ground for unwanted combatants and civilians. People were moved there aboard now-infamous green buses from other provinces once the Syrian army had retaken them.
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