Syrian artillery killed a child and wounded dozens in northern Idleb province as regime forces stepped up its aerial and ground offensive on northwestern Syria, local activists said Wednesday.
In retaliation, the National Liberation Front, key rebel group in Idleb, said it had attacked the regime bastions in the northern countryside of Hama.
For five days, regime warplanes have been carrying out tens of airstrikes, pounding the southern countryside of Idleb and the northern countryside of Hama.
Since Friday, 67 civilians have been killed in Idleb province, 30 of them were killed by the Russian airstrikes, and 30 others killed in a huge explosion that erupted at an arms depot.
On Thursday, Syria’s regime dropped leaflets across the province, urging residents to reconcile with its rule. Officials have warned that government forces will take back the province by force if necessary.
The U.N. children's agency says a battle for Idleb province between regime forces and the rebels could affect the lives of more than 1 million children, many of whom live in refugee camps.
UNICEF says food, water and medicine are already in short supply in the largely rural northwestern province, now home to over 1 million Syrians who have been displaced from their homes by government offensives across the country.
The agency says a battle for Idleb, the last major bastion for Syria's political and military opposition, would exacerbate an already dire humanitarian situation, and potentially displace 350,000 children.
In Hama, two women and a young boy were killed when regime airstrikes hit the northern countryside of Hama, local activists said Monday.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.