Children among seven killed in Syria rebel enclave shelling

Rescuers say government shelling in Idlib and surrounding areas also wounded 17.

The northwestern rebel-held enclave of Idlib is home to more than three million people and remains the last area in opposition hands [File: Ahmad al-Atrash/AFP]

Rescuers and activists said the Syrian government shelled the last rebel enclave in the country’s northwest on Wednesday, killing at least seven people, including four children.

The attack, on a day of heavy rain, targeted Idlib city and two towns, to the north and south.

A child was killed when a shell landed near a weekly market in the city of Idlib, according to the Syrian Civil Defence, a volunteer rescue team also known as the White Helmets, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor.

The shelling in Idlib and surrounding areas wounded 17, according to Ahmed Sheikho, a spokesman for the White Helmets.

In the town of Ariha, to the south, four people were killed, including a four-year-old child, Sheikho said.

In Kefraya to the north, two children were killed, the Syrian Observatory and the White Helmets said.

The shelling comes as an eight-month truce negotiated between Turkey and Russia is unravelling.

Syria’s government and its allied forces have resumed operations in recent weeks, including carrying out an air strike in late October on rebels in the area that killed dozens of Turkey-backed fighters at their training camp.

The attack sparked retaliation, restoring a cycle of violence that had previously displaced hundreds of thousands of residents fleeing the fighting and government advances.

The northwestern rebel-held enclave is home to more than three million people and remains the last area in opposition hands.

The international community is calling for a nationwide ceasefire and resumption of peace talks, saying no military operations would bring about peace to war-torn Syria.

The nine-year war has displaced millions, and killed nearly half a million people, leaving Syria torn into rival areas controlled by different groups, backed by regional or international powers.

Source: AP