IDLIB, Syria

At least seven civilians were killed on Monday in artillery shelling by Syrian regime forces and Iran-affiliated terrorist groups on two villages in the countryside of Idlib province in northwestern Syria, according to a volunteer group.

The artillery shelling targeted the villages of al-Bara and Ehsim in Idlib countryside, Hassan Al-Ahmad, a spokesman of the Syrian Civil Defense (White Helmets), told Anadolu Agency.

He said two civilians were killed in Al-Bara and five in Ehsim, in addition to wounding ten others.

Earlier on Monday, Syrian regime forces bombed the villages of Al-Mastouma, Sufuhun, Felifel, Kansafra, and Bailon. There were no reports of casualties so far.
Regime attacks on the de-escalation zone in northwestern Syria have escalated in recent months.

In May 2017, Turkey, Russia and Iran announced that they had reached an agreement to establish a de-escalation zone in Idlib, as part of the Astana meetings related to the Syrian crisis.

However, it was only after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed on March 5, 2020 to a new truce in Idlib to end hostilities and attacks on civilians that effective de-escalation took place, with the exception of sporadic shelling by regime forces.

*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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