Air strike on Syrian refugee camp in Idlib kills six including two children

Violent clashes between rebels and forces loyal to President Assad have increased in the area in the past two months

A Syrian refugee camp in Sarmada district, north of Idlib city. Another camp in the area has come under fire. AP
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An air strike on a refugee camp in the Syrian rebel-held area of Idlib has killed six people, resident said on Tuesday.

It was the latest attack in an intensified Syrian and Russian bombing in the north-western governorate in two months.

The victims included a mother and her two children, who were killed in an air raid on the Hamama camp in the east of the region.

"There is nothing around Hamama, it has no strategic importance," resident Othman Biraqdar told The National.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, has accused Russia of carrying out the bombardment.

Idlib is home to 3.4 million people, most of whom fled from other areas of Syria during the 2011 revolt against President Bashar Al Assad, and the subsequent civil war.

Control of the governorate fell to a coalition of rebels, which included religious extremists, in 2015.

Later, Hayat Tahrir Al Sham, an offshoot of the Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra front, took control of large parts of Idlib.

In 2020, an attack by the Syrian military and pro-Iranian militias allied with Damascus to recapture Idlib failed after Turkey sent its forces into the battlefield. The neighbouring country came close to a war with Russia over the area.

The prospect of such a conflict prompted a meeting in Sochi between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, which led to a ceasefire in Idlib.

There have been regular breaches of the truce, which increased after two brigades allied with Hayat Tahrir Al Sham captured a strategic hill from forces loyal to Mr Al Assad at the end of August.

Sporadic battles have since taken place on the southern frontier of opposition-held parts of Idlib, near a motorway that leads to the Mediterranean and in areas separating Idlib from Latakia governorate, which contains one of Russian's main airbases in Syria.

Updated: October 24, 2023, 4:09 PM