Syrian government attack kills seven civilians in rebel-held area, activists say

Opposition activists claim troops fired missiles at a civilian car and the dead included three children from the same family

A file photo of Free Syrian Army (FSA) members launching a rocket attack on September 26, 2016. Getty Images
A file photo of Free Syrian Army (FSA) members launching a rocket attack on September 26, 2016. Getty Images

Syrian government forces fired a missile at a civilian vehicle in a rebel-held village in the country’s north-west on Thursday, killing seven people, including three children from the same family, opposition activists said.

The attack took place near the village of Najia, close to front lines with government forces in Idlib province, the last major rebel stronghold in the country.

The missile killed two men, two women and three children, and wounded others, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitoring group in Britain.

The UN children’s agency, Unicef, confirmed that three children from the same family were killed.

“Ten years on in this brutal war, children continue to be killed and injured, day in, day out,” tweeted Ted Chaiban, Unicef’s Middle East and North Africa director.

Despite a ceasefire that was reached in March last year between Turkey and Russia, which stopped a Russian-backed government offensive on Idlib, there have been sporadic breaches that have killed and wounded scores of people.

Russia and Turkey back rival groups in Syria’s conflict.

Syria’s 10-year conflict has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced half of its pre-war population of 23 million.

More than 5 million Syrians are refugees, mostly in neighbouring countries.

Last month, artillery shells fired from government areas hit a major hospital in a rebel-controlled town in north-western Syria.

They killed at least six patients, including a child, wounded medical staff and forced the hospital to shut its doors.

Updated: April 9, 2021 02:27 AM

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