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Military escalation from Syrian government and Russia causes more displacement in southern Idlib

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Editing: Hazem Halak |
Translation: Glory Jabr

Idlib - SMART

The Syrian government forces and Russia escalated bombing on southern Idlib, forcing more families to flee to Northern Syria.

Civil Defense director in the village of Shinan, Subhi al-Ibrahim, reported to SMART that on Monday night, the Russian warplanes launched several raids on the villages of al-Bara and al-Maouzrah in the Zawiya Mountain, causing damage. Al-Ibrahim stated that dozens of families fled the area due to the bombing.

Al-Ibrahim added that the missiles launched by Russian warplanes exploded before crashing to the ground, as their remnants spread over areas surrounding the site of the explosion.

Al-Ibrahim noted that dozens of families residing in the towns and villages of southern Idlib flee almost daily, as a result of the recent escalation from the Syrian government forces and Russia. Al-Ibrahim added that the people are afraid of the Russian warplanes flying over the region.

Russia and Turkey deployed a new joint military patrol to the Aleppo-Latakia international highway (M4). The patrol headed from the village of al-Tronba near Saraqib to the village of Furaykah near Jisr al-Shughur, southwest of Idlib.

On June 8, Russian airstrikes killed two civilians and injured three others in the towns and villages of the Zawiya Mountain.

On April 21, 2020, the Syria Response Coordinators Team accused the Syrian government of deliberately violating the ceasefire agreement announced on Mar. 5, 2020 in the Idlib governorate, Northern Syria, to prevent the displaced people from returning to their homes.

Free Syrian Army factions announced preventing civilians from entering  their controlled areas in the villages of the Zawiya Mountain, south of Idlib,  becaused they are considered as military areas.

On Mar. 5, 2020, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced reaching a ceasefire agreement in Idlib that entered into force on Mar. 6, 2020 at 00:01.

Earlier, the Syrian government forces and loyalist militias, supported by Russia, launched a ground military attack on the southern and eastern countryside of Idlib and the southern and western countryside of Aleppo. The Syrian government gained control of dozens of villages and towns in the region, after intensified shelling. The shelling killed and injured hundreds of civilians, and forced hundreds of thousands to displace.

The attack is considered a continuation of the Syrian government forces and Russian military operation, which was launched on Apr. 25, 2019. During the operation, the Syrian government forces gained control of the northern Hama countryside and the Khan Shaykhun area in August 2019. Military analysts and journalists said that the operation aims to gain total control of the Aleppo-Damascus (M5) international highway, which links Turkey, Jordan, and the Arab Gulf countries, and the Aleppo-Latakia (M4) highway, to reopen them later under a Russian sponsorship.