Assad regime’s airstrikes have killed at least 22 people in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, as a government-announced ceasefire entered its third and final day and pro-regime forces continued a push to encircle rebel-held areas of Aleppo city.
Twenty-two civilians were killed and more than 50 others were injured, including women and children, on Friday, the third day of Muslims’ Eid al-Fitr, after Assad jet fighters attacked a popular marketplace in the town of Darkoush in Idlib western countryside, Syria Live Network (SLN) reported.
Darkoush is held by the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front and allied rebel groups, which control the entirety of northwestern province of Idlib.
One of Assad jet fighters carried out two air strikes on the marketplace’s entrance in midtown. The marketplace was targeted while it was crowded with sellers and buyers, after Assad regime declared a 72-hour truce which was supposed to end Friday evening, according to SLN.
Wounded civilians were rushed to field hospitals. There are severe injuries among them, which increases the probability that the death toll is going to rise.
Photos published by activists from the town showed limbs on roadsides, in addition to the shell of the rocket which targeted the town.
It said some of the wounded had been transferred to nearby hospitals, and others across the border inside Turkey.
In a similar context, Assad jet fighters targeted the town of Kafr Takharim, which resulted in 2 deaths and many injuries among civilians.
Last month, air strikes on the provincial capital Idlib city killed at least 21 civilians, including five children.
— ابو الهدى الحمصي (@aboalhodaalhoms) July 8, 2016
— مزاحم محمدسعيدباجابر (@mozahim2008) July 8, 2016
Battle for Aleppo
The Syrian army announced on Wednesday that it would observe a 72-hour nationwide ceasefire for Eid al-Fitr, the feast marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
But on Thursday, pro-regime forces made major steps towards completely encircling the rebel-held parts of Aleppo, capturing high ground overlooking the strategic Castello Road – the only road into and out of the opposition half of the city.
“The Assad regime is now closer than ever to achieving its goal of surrounding Aleppo. This would isolate the city from other opposition-controlled areas and from the border with Turkey. For the opposition, it’s a fight for survival,” Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr said on Friday, reporting from the Syria-Turkey border.
“It’s also a question of survival for the estimated 300,000 people living in the eastern districts of Aleppo. A siege would only cause more suffering in a city devastated by years of war. “
Nearly 600,000 Syrians are living under siege in 18 communities across the country, according to figures from the United Nations. If Aleppo is surrounded by regime forces, it will become number 19.
“The people are afraid of a siege. The road is totally closed right now. We may have enough goods and medicine for a month,” Aleppo-based media activist Mujahid Abu Joud told Al Jazeera.
“If the regime succeeds, it will be the first time the city is besieged.”