IDLIB, Syria 

At least eight civilians were killed and nine others wounded in attacks by forces of the Bashar al-Assad regime and their allied Iran-backed foreign terrorist groups in a de-escalation zone in northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, a Syrian civil defense group said on Saturday.

Regime forces fired shells at the villages of Mashun, Iblin and Balyun in southern Idlib, violating a cease-fire deal in the de-escalation zone, Hassan al-Ahmad, media head of the White Helmets civil defense group, told Anadolu Agency.

According to the official, five civilians were killed in Iblin, two in Balyun, and one in Mashun.

Regime attacks on the de-escalation zone have escalated in recent months.

Syria has been mired in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Over the past decade, around half a million people have been killed and more than 12 million had to flee their homes.

Idlib falls within a de-escalation zone forged under an agreement between Turkey and Russia in March 2020.

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

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