Russian and Syrian regime airstrikes continue to hit Idlib

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - Russian and regime airstrikes continued wreak devastation in rebel-held northwestern Syria on Thursday, as pro-Bashar Al-Assad forces continued a build-up close to the frontlines.

Russian bombing injured three children in Tal Mardikh town in the eastern Idlib countryside, The New Arab's Arabic-language service reported.

Russian warplanes also struck the village of Marshamarin in southern Idlib, while regime helicopters targeted the towns of Jarjanaz and Al-Ghadfah with barrel bombs.

At least 37 civilians have been killed and 76 injured as a result of the Russian and regime shelling on Idlib between Sunday and Wednesday this week, according to the Syrian Civil Defense. 

In a statement, the Civil Defence warned of a humanitarian catastrophe that threatens the lives of more than 100,000 people in the area of ​​Maarat al-Numan, south of Idlib, as a result of the continued bombing.

Wednesday's bombing targeted a civil defense centre, an ambulance, an electricity company building and popular markets, the organisation said. 

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that 50,000 people were fleeing violence in Idlib to Turkey, Reuters reported.

"Look, 50,000 people are once again coming from Idlib to our lands," Erdogan said at a summit for Muslim leaders in Malaysia's capital.

Read more: Muslim leaders gather in Malaysia for Islamic summit, despite Saudi pressure

"We already have 4 million people, and now another 50,000 are coming and this may increase."

President Erdogan has said he plans to repatriate Syrians to a "safe zone" in northeastern Syria which was seized during Turkey’s incursion into the country two months ago.

Erdogan slammed Muslim nations for not supporting his plan. "They provide no support when we call on them to form a safe zone, but when it comes to weapons, the arms come," he said.

Idlib's displaced

The Syrian First Responders Team said that 11,714 people had fled their homes earlier this week, bringing the number of people who had been displaced in Idlib since the beginning of November to 109,408 according to its estimates.

Fierce bombardment of rebel-held Idlib province by the Assad regime and Russia resumed in November after a two-month lull. Russia and the regime intentionally target civilian facilities such as markets and hospitals in their bombing campaign.

Syrian opposition sources say that the regime and its allies are likely to soon launch a wide-ranging ground offensive in Idlib province, which is the last area of Syria held by anti-Assad rebels.

Read more: I lost my unborn child to a hospital airstrike in Syria

The Syrian First Responders Team called on international organisations to intervene quickly to provide displaced people with the necessities of life. Approximately 3 million people live in Idlib province, about half of them displaced from other parts of Syria.

People displaced from recent rounds of bombardment have been forced to take shelter in olive groves and fields because there is no room for them in overcrowded displacement camps.

As winter sets in, there are fears that many displaced people will die of cold because they cannot afford to buy fuel to keep warm.

The Syrian conflict began in 2011 when the Assad regime brutally suppressed pro-democracy protests. More than 500,000 people have been killed and millions more displaced since then, mostly as a result of regime bombardment of civilian areas.


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