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Syrian government forces advance in northern Hama following intense bombings that displaced thousands of civilians

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Editing: Hasan Borhan Abd Allah Al Darwesh |
Translation: Muhammad Ghaith
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Publication date: 2019/05/12 18:09

 

The Russian backed-Syrian government forces and supporting militias advance in northern Hama, Central Syria, following intense bombings on the Idlib and Hama governorates. The intense bombings killed hundreds of civilians and displaced thousands of others.

 

Syrian government forces advance against opposition military factions:

Backed by Russian warplanes, the Syrian government forces and supporting militias controlled the town of Kafr Nabudah, the city of Qal’at al-Madiq, and nearby villages such as al-Karkat in the Shahshabou mountainous area. The Syrian government forces controlled the aforementioned areas following clashes with the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the Free Syrian Army (FSA)’ National Liberation Front and the al-Izzah Army.  

Wide-scale clashes erupted between the Syrian government forces and opposition factions. The clashes coincided with Russian and Syrian government forces intense airstrikes. A media official from the al-Nasr Army stated that opposition factions withdrew from the areas due to the intense bombings. 

The opposition factions killed dozens of Syrian government forces’ members and supporting militias’ fighters; however, the Syrian government forces killed opposition factions’ fighters. 

In parallel with the bombings on Hama, the Syrian government forces sent reinforcements to northern Latakia to attack the al-Kabina area. The Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and the Turkistan Islamist Party repelled the attack that coincided with airstrikes and artillery and rocket shelling.

As the Syrian government forces controlled areas in Hama, local activists accused opposition factions of handing the areas over to the Syrian government forces upon agreements. Muhammad Rashid, the spokesperson for the al-Nasr Army denied that, emphasizing that the opposition factions withdrew from the areas due to intense bombings. 

Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani, commander of the HTS that is the largest faction in Northern Syria, called media officials to a meeting to explain the course of battles in Hama. 

Al-Jawlani emphasized that there are no agreements to hand over any area in Northern Syria. Al-Jawlani added that they  have only the military choice after the political one collapsed due to the Syrian government forces and Russian escalation.

Bombings kill dozens of civilians:

As a SMART’ team was following up the incidents in Idlib and Hama, the team spotted the killing and injuring 307 civilians and the destroying of 12 key infrastructure facilities. Free educational directorates and universities suspended school and canceled exams due to intense bombings.

Russian and Syrian government forces airstrikes and rocket and artillery shelling killed and injured 230 civilians most of them women and children in cities, towns, and villages, southern Idlib.

Russian and Syrian government forces airstrikes and rocket and artillery shelling killed and injured 72 civilians most of them women and children in cities, towns, and villages, northern and western Hama. 

Russian and Syrian government forces warplanes target medical facilities and schools:

Russian and Syrian government forces warplanes targeted hospitals, medical centers, and schools in Idlib and Hama. the bombings destroyed some of the facilities and caused other to stop work.

Since April 28, 2019, Russian airstrikes have hit 12 medical facilities belonging to the Free Hama Health Directorate in Northern and Central Syria. The recent airstrike hit the Sham hospital, causing no injuries.

Russian warplanes bombed the surgical hospital in the city of Kafr Nabl, the Nabd al-Hayat hospital in the village of Has, and two other hospitals, southern Idlib. The warplanes targeted a Civil Defense center.

The Free Idlib Health Directorate started emergency system for six days in hospitals and medical centers, due to Russian and Syrian government forces intense bombings. 

Russian and Syrian government forces warplanes bombed schools, southern Idlib and northern Hama, depriving 250,000 students from education. 

The Response Coordinators Team documented Russian and Syrian government forces bombings on 44 schools over four months in Idlib. 

Local councils announced the town of Ihsem and villages of Kafr Sajnah and Tarmala as devastated due to Syrian government forces and Russian bombings. 

Tens of thousands of civilians flee bombings:

Tens of thousands of civilians fled cities, towns, and villages in southern Idlib and northern Hama due to Syrian government forces and Russian bombings. Most of the civilians headed to safer areas on Turkish border, northern Idlib, and to the areas of the Euphrates Shield Operation and Olive Branch Battle, northern Aleppo. Syrian National Army’ fighters and military police prevented the civilians from entering the areas.   

Muhammad Halaj, manager of the Response Coordinators Team in Syria said that the number of forcibly displaced people (FDP) increased to 16,619 families made up of 103,539 people who fled southern Idlib and northern Hama due to the military campaign on April 29, 2019.

A source reported that the National Army’ fighters and police claims that the Euphrates Shield Operation and Olive Branch areas can host no more FDP. 

The source added that preventing the FDP from entering the areas was not upon a formal decision, rather it was meant to reduce the number of civilians entering the areas. The source noted that FDP who have relatives can enter the areas; however, those who have no relatives living in the area, cannot enter or they suffer a lot before allowing them in.  

Thousands of FDP still sleep in agricultural lands and roads, and lack means of major life, amidst Syrian government forces and Russian military escalation. 

Media and civil institutions launched the Be helpful Campaign, to help the FDP damaged due to the Syrian government forces and Russian military campaign. Activists and sides appeal to the Salvation Government operating in the HTS-controlled areas, the Syrian Interim Government, and humanitarian organizations to provide aid for the FDP. 

As the Syrian government forces and Russian military campaign continues in Northern Syria, killing and injuring dozens of civilians, and displacing thousands of others, 4 million people fear the results of the campaign. The international community’s response was limited to shy calls by French President, British foreign minister, and the United Nations to stop the military escalation in the area and protect civilians