22 killed in air strikes by Syria, its ally Russia, says Britain-based monitor
At least 22 civilians have been killed in 48 hours of heavy air strikes by Syria’s regime and its ally Russia in northwestern Syria, a monitor said Thursday.
The strikes hit areas in the provinces of Idlib and Hama, where an internationally agreed truce zone is meant to be in place, and come in response to an offensive launched Tuesday by jihadists.
Idlib, along with parts of neighbouring Hama and Latakia provinces, forms one of four so-called de-escalation zones agreed last May by regime allies Russia and Iran and rebel backer Turkey.
The agreement has brought relative calm to the regions involved, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has reported dozens of raids on Hama and Idlib since Tuesday, when jihadists began attacking government positions.
“The Russian and regime aircraft are practically not leaving the sky over Idlib and Hama,” the Britain-based monitor said.
On Thursday, at least four people including a father and his two daughters were killed in Russian raids on the town of Khan Sheikun in Idlib, the monitor said, raising the civilian death toll in 48 hours of strikes to 22.
Dozens more have been injured, according to the Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria and says it determines whose planes carry out raids according to type, location, flight patterns and munitions used.
Jihadist factions led by a former Al-Qaeda affiliate, which are not included in the de-escalation deal, launched a fierce assault on Tuesday on a string of government-held villages along the border between Idlib and Hama.
The fighting erupted just days after Iran, Russia and Turkey announced they would jointly police the safe zone in Idlib, Hama, and Latakia provinces.
Russia has already deployed military police to the other three safe zones -- Eastern Ghouta near Damascus, parts of the south and some areas of the central province of Homs.
The de-escalation agreement excludes the jihadists of the Islamic State group and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an alliance dominated by Al-Qaeda’s former Syrian affiliate.
More than 330,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began with anti-government protests in March 2011.
'God heard me... God is watching over me' - the fervent words of 82-year-old Maria Mayashlapak, who clings to life in Ukraine's Bakhmut afteMaria'ser home was destroyed by Russian artillery fire, forcing her to live among the ruins and in fear of the next - fatal - attack. Entire houses have been wrecked and only burnt wooden posts and piles of mud remain where once there were picturesque village homes.
Outgoing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte sharply criticized Russian leader Vladimir Putin for the killings of innocent civilians in Ukraine, saying while the two of them have been tagged as killers, “I kill criminals, I don't kill children and the elderly.” Duterte, who steps down on June 30 when his turbulent six-year term ends, has presided over a brutal anti-drugs crackdown that has left more than 6,000 mostly petty suspects dead.
China's foreign minister told the United Nations' human rights chiefWang Yie hopedMichelle Bachelet'sr landmark visit would help to "clarify misinformation", ahead of her visit to the Xinjiang region. Bachelet is expected to visit the Xinjiang cities of Urumqi and Kashgar on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of a six-day tour -- the first to China by a top UN rights official since 2005.
Pakistan is headed for long term instability with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif facing a political challenge from his ousted predecessor Imran Khan Niazi in the form of long-march to Islamabad tomorrow amidst free falling Pakistani Rupee and a neutral Pakistan Army. Apparently, the call for the march was primarily for people from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab with parallel protests in Quetta in Balochistan and local protests in Sukkur, Larkana, Hyderabad and Karachi of Sindh Province.
Chinese premier Li Keqiang has sent a congratulatory note to newly elected Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese, Beijing's state media reported, ending a year-long freeze in diplomatic contact between the two countries. China cut off diplomatic and trade channels with Australia in a largely symbolic act of fury last May, following clashes over issues including human rights, espionage and the origins of Covid-19.