IDLIB, Syria

At least three Syrian farmers were killed in an attack by the Bashar al-Assad regime forces in the northern province of Idlib on Saturday.

Violating a ceasefire signed between Turkey and Russia on March 5, the regime forces carried out an artillery strike on a village near Hama, killing three civilians and wounding another one.

In May 2017, four de-escalation zones were designated in Idlib and some regions in neighboring provinces Latakia, Hama and Aleppo as well as northern parts of Homs province, Eastern Ghouta region in the capital Damascus, Daraa and Quneitra cities by Turkey, Russia and Iran in talks held in Kazakhstan’s capital Nur-Sultan, also known as the Astana process.

However, the regime and Iran-backed terrorists captured three of the four regions and headed towards Idlib. Talks between Ankara and Moscow were held in Sochi, Russia in September 2018 to consolidate the cease-fire agreement.

However, the regime forces began military operations to seize the entire region in May 2019 and captured several large residential areas within the Idlib de-escalation zone.

On March 5, Turkey and Russia held talks in Moscow and came to a new agreement.

The cease-fire, which the regime forces have since occasionally violated, is largely intact. Since 2017, nearly 2 million civilians were forced to migrate to regions close to the Turkish border due to attacks by the regime forces.

* Writing by Dilan Pamuk in Ankara

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