Syrian regime shelling and air raids kill 14 more civilians, rescue services and war monitors say. The regime attacks have killed dozens of people, including children, in the country's north-west in the last few days.

People watch as smoke billows after Syrian regime forces reportedly bombed the Aleppo countryside. May 28, 2019.
People watch as smoke billows after Syrian regime forces reportedly bombed the Aleppo countryside. May 28, 2019. (AFP)

Regime air strikes on north-western Syria since early Wednesday morning killed at least 14 civilians, according to the civil defence service White Helmets.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), seven of them were killed in the village of Sarja, which lies in Idlib province, most of which is controlled by Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS), a group dominated by former members of Al Qaeda's Syria affiliate.

On Tuesday, regime shelling and air raids killed 24 people in villages in the northwest, including children, according to the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) charity.

Satellite images show burning orchards

New satellite images show fields, orchards and olive groves burning in north-west Syria, where the regime forces have waged a renewed assault since April 30 against the opposition and rebels in their last major stronghold.

The regime air strikes, backed by Russia, have focused on the south of Idlib province and nearby parts of Hama, uprooting nearly 250,000 people. The bombing has killed 229 civilians and injured 727 others, according to the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) charity.

In photos by satellite imagery provider DigitalGlobe Inc, plumes of dark smoke rise from the countryside around al Habeet village in Idlib and the small town of Kafr Nabouda in Hama.

Mustafa al Haj Yousef, head of the Idlib civil defence, said regime warplanes had been pounding crop fields, sparking dozens of fires.

Syrian regime news agency SANA said on Tuesday that militants had shelled villages in the northern Hama countryside, damaging houses and burning wheat fields.

TRT World's Sara Firth has more.

Deadly start to week

Tuesday's strikes on a busy street in the village of Kafr Halab, on the western edge of Aleppo province, killed at least nine civilians, according to the monitor.

An AFP photographer said the bodies of the victims were torn apart and several stores lining the side of the road were destroyed.

The street was crowded with people out and about before breaking the daytime fast observed by Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan.

A hospital in the Idlib town of Kaf Nabl was also hit by artillery shells, said David Swanson, a spokesman for the UN humanitarian office.

"The facility is reportedly out of service due to severe structural damage," he told AFP news agency.

The hospital's administrative director Majed al Akraa confirmed the attack.

"The hospital is completely out of service," he said.

"It was a strong attack. The generators and even my car caught fire," he told AFP.

Rescue volunteers and civilians were seen pulling dust-covered victims from the rubble of destroyed buildings in the wake of those strikes.

The Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, said one of their bases and a hospital in Aleppo province were bombed despite UN warning all sides against targeting the hospitals.

Regime bombardment on the area Sunday and Monday killed a total of 31 civilians, according to the SOHR.

'Reckless escalation'

Ongoing hostilities between the Syrian regime and its allies, and opposition forces in northwestern Syria must end immediately, the US said Tuesday.

"Indiscriminate attacks on civilians and public infrastructures such as schools, markets, and hospitals is a reckless escalation of the conflict and is unacceptable," said US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.

The United Nations has warned that an all-out offensive on the region would lead to a humanitarian catastrophe for its nearly three million residents.

UN deputy aid chief Ursula Mueller told the Security Council on Tuesday that aid agencies have been forced to suspend their work in some areas, she said, adding that 22 hospitals and clinics had been hit by air strikes or shelling since April 28.

"Further military operations will overwhelm all ability to respond," she warned.

Claims about chemical attack

France claimed Tuesday it had an "indication" that a chemical attack had been carried out in the Idlib area, adding that "for now it has not been verified".

The United States reported earlier this month that Assad's regime carried out a chemical "attack" on May 19 during its offensive in Idlib, threatening reprisals.

International inspectors say Assad's forces have conducted a series of chemical attacks in the course of the brutal civil war, which has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since 2011.

Syrian authorities have consistently denied the charges.

'De-escalation zone'

Idlib and parts of the neighbouring provinces of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia are under the control of HTS.

Turkey and Russia agreed last September to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression would be expressly prohibited.

The Syrian regime, however, has consistently violated the terms of the ceasefire, launching frequent attacks inside the de-escalation zone.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected severity.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies