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At least two civilians killed in Russian air strikes on an abandoned water pumping station in Syria’s northwest

Russian airstrikes in Syria’s rebel-held northwest have resulted in the deaths of at least two civilians at an abandoned water pumping station. According to an AFP report, the strikes occurred late on Tuesday near Ain Shib, situated to the west of Idlib city, where displaced Syrians had taken refuge. This incident comes amid a recent surge in attacks carried out by Moscow, a staunch ally of the Syrian government.

Additional late-night airstrikes reportedly targeted the town of Ariha, located to the south of Idlib city.

First responders, quoted by AFP, have confirmed that at least two civilians were killed. The fate of several individuals who were residing in the facility remains uncertain.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, stated that the strikes near Ain Shib had aimed at “military bases belonging to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)”.

Shortly before the strikes in Ariha, Russian air attacks targeted a rebel base to the north of Idlib city, leading to the deaths of three HTS members and injuries to seven others. The strike also resulted in the injury of five civilians, as reported by a UK-based monitoring group.

HTS, a jihadist organization, exercises control over this region and frequently conducts lethal assaults on soldiers and pro-government forces. Russian forces have been repeatedly targeting the Idlib area in recent days, with some previous attacks causing civilian casualties.

On Monday, Russian airstrikes on the outskirts of Idlib city resulted in the deaths of 13 HTS fighters, along with several reported injuries.

A previous incident on August 5 saw a Russian airstrike targeting a former HTS base that had been abandoned by the militant group a few weeks prior. The strike claimed the lives of three civilians, who were members of the same family on the outskirts of Idlib.

In another incident in the Idlib province on June 25, at least 13 individuals lost their lives, including nine civilians.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that these Russian strikes have left approximately 30 civilians wounded in the Idlib province. Among the casualties, there was a member of the Turkistan Islamic Party, an organization primarily composed of Uyghur fighters.

These airstrikes are part of Russia’s involvement in Syria’s ongoing civil conflict. Since 2015, Moscow has provided support to the Syrian government’s endeavors to regain control over territories that were previously seized by rebel forces during the country’s 12-year civil conflict.

HTS, once linked to Al-Qaeda, exercises authority over significant regions within the Idlib province, as well as parts of adjacent Latakia, Hama, and Aleppo provinces.


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