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Syria: 70,000 Civilians Displaced in a Week

Syria: 70,000 Civilians Displaced in a Week

Thursday, 23 January, 2020 - 10:30
Displaced man sitting with his belongings (File photo: AFP)
Beirut, London – Asharq Al-Awsat

Towns and villages of the western sector of Aleppo countryside are witnessing ongoing displacement against the backdrop of the escalating military operations of the Syrian regime and Russia, over the recent week, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

The Observatory noted that more than 10,000 families, estimated as nearly 70,000 civilians, were forced to flee the area during the recent week.

The London-based war monitor said in a press release that a large portion of people who got displaced over the past week, were originally displaced earlier from Idlib, Hama, and other Syrian areas to the western countryside of Aleppo.

The number of people displaced from the southern and southeastern countryside of Idlib and the western countryside of Aleppo since last December rose to nearly 400,000 civilians.

SOHR reported that various areas in both rural Aleppo and Idlib were hit by over 110 “hysterical airstrikes carried out by the regime and Russian jets.”

The official Syrian News Agency (SANA) stated that the retaliatory missile attacks attributed to the armed factions killed three civilians, near government-controlled Aleppo in northern Syria.

The Observatory said that ten civilians, including an entire family of eight, were killed in raids in the west of Aleppo, an area close to Idlib.

Director of the Observatory Rami Abdul Rahman told French Press Agency that one of the raids targeted a house on the outskirts of the village of Kfar Taal, killing an entire family, including six children.

Abdul Rahman added that the bombing in and around Idlib, especially west of Aleppo, was exclusively Russian, noting that they want to keep extremists away from Aleppo and the Aleppo-Damascus road.

He believes the shelling may be a prelude to a ground military operation, especially since the regime sent troops to the outskirts of Aleppo during the past weeks.

Earlier this month, Russia announced a ceasefire agreement which Turkey later confirmed. However, it did not last, and warplanes resumed escalation in the area.

Idlib suffers from a serious humanitarian situation, with relief groups warning of a wave of displacement on an unprecedented scale. At least 3 million people reside in the region, many of which are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

The International Rescue Committee warned that another 650,000 people, mostly children, and women, may also be displaced if violence continues.

SOHR also reported that regime air force “hysterical bombardment on both Idlib and Aleppo countryside, along with ongoing operations by Russian jets and regime helicopters on the area,” recorded 239 raids targeting various areas.

It also indicated that regime helicopters dropped 66 barrel bombs on places in Hama countryside, the southern and western countryside of Aleppo, and Idlib countryside.

For their part, Russian jets carried out 62 airstrikes targeting places in the north-west of Aleppo, west of Aleppo, the southern countryside of Aleppo, and Idlib countryside.

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