AOHR UK understands that artillery fire from the regime led by Bashar al-Assad killed at least 22 civilians – nine of them children – during the past week. The targets were the villages of Idlib in northwestern Syria.
As ever with the catastrophic conflict in Syria, it was civilians who suffered the most. Reports from Ehsim suggest that the missiles hit the home of a family – on Saturday, 17 July -who was gathered to celebrate a wedding.
And in Sarja, pro-government forces fired artillery that killed three children and an aid worker.
On Thursday, July 15, 2021, at least 9 civilians were killed, including three children, when Syrian government rockets hit the villages of Iblin and Foa in Idlib.
The renewed bloodshed comes after Bashar al-Assad celebrated taking office for his fourth term – and his vow to “liberate” areas outside of government control.
This “liberation”, as we have seen repeatedly throughout this horrific conflict, means indiscriminate death for men, women, and children living in such areas.
Idlib is home to three million people, more than half of whom have fled violence elsewhere in the country. Various rebel groups operate there – but the shelling of innocent civilians will do nothing to bring any sort of peace to the region or country as a whole.
AOHR UK also condemns the violation of a 2017 ceasefire deal brokered by Turkey, Iran, and Russia, which was supposed to end such bloodshed.
More than half a million people have been killed since the conflict between the Assad regime and its opponents began with street protests in 2011, in the wake of the Arab Spring.
AOHR UK adds its voice to the millions of people worldwide who want all parties to find a way towards peace in Syria.
AOHR UK calls on the regime to halt its renewed offensive against the people of Idlib and other areas.
AOHR UK also calls on regional and international powers to stop using Syria as a battleground on which to fight proxy wars. Russia, the US, and others must push for peace in the country, not continue to stoke conflict for their own benefit.
Finally, AOHR UK demands that the United Nations call on all parties to negotiate a lasting peace.