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Syrian army shells bastion of Turkish-backed rebels, killing 7: monitor

The Syrian army shelled the Idlib region Thursday killing seven civilians, three of them children, in its third deadly bombardment of the bastion of rebels backed by Ankara in a week, Agence France-Presse reported, citing a monitor.

Several people were seriously wounded in the morning bombardment of the village of Iblin, south of Idlib, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The army has stepped up its bombing of the northwestern enclave since Saturday when President Bashar al-Assad took the oath of office for a new term vowing to make “liberating those parts of the homeland that still need to be” one of his top priorities.

The same day strikes on the Idlib villages of Sarja and Ehsin killed 14 civilians, seven of them children.

Two days earlier shelling of Idlib and the town of Fuaa further north killed nine civilians, three of them children, the Observatory said.

Controlled by an alliance dominated by Al-Qaeda’s former Syria affiliate, the Idlib region is home to nearly 3 million people, two-thirds of them displaced from other parts of the country.

A March 2020 deal brokered by the rival sides’ main foreign backers — Russia and Turkey — has eased fighting on the front line, but the region remains in the government’s sights.

Elsewhere in the country, Kurdish-led forces control a large swathe of the east after expelling the Islamic State group from the region.

And Turkey and its Syrian proxies hold a long strip of territory along the northern border.

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