In Syria, the fighting continues, as the Syrian government led by Assad and backed by Iran and Russia still does not have control of the country. Swathes of territory are still controlled by rebel forces or splinter groups of rebel forces. In these areas, there continue to be various attacks that involve civilians, not just the armed forces of the rebel groups, the government, and its allies.
Attack costs 39 civilian lives
One such town is Sarmadā, which is controlled by rebels and Hayat Tahriral-Sham (HTS), an alliance of jihadists from Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate.
That town was also the site of an explosion that killed 39 civilians and 3 HTS members. The building that exploded was a residential building with a weapons depot inside. Most of those killed were related to the fighters of the HTS.
White Helmet workers tried to lift a floor in one area, while three children watched with no expression on their faces. The realities of war in this country have become so common, that it results in little reaction from the youngest of Syrians.
Explosions increasing throughout area
Idlib, where Sarmadā is located, is controlled by rebels and HTS, but there are also cells of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group. A number of explosions and assassinations have taken place throughout the province. The attacks appear to be targeting rebel officials and fighters. Some of these attacks are being claimed by IS, but others are the result of infighting between rebel groups.
However, government forces are also getting into the act, as the Syrian government attempts to take back complete control of the country.
On Friday, two towns, Khan Sheikhun and Al-Tah, were the site of a regime bombardment that killed 12 civilians. Assad has warned that he plans to use government forces to reclaim the area. A Russian-backed regime has already regained territory from the rebels in other parts of Syria.
Government helicopters dropped leaflets over areas of the province, urging people to surrender. The United Nations has appealed to all parties, hoping that talks could avert an escalation of violence in the province.
The Syrian civil war has cost over 350,000 lives, with millions of Syrians displaced due to the violence. The conflict started with protests from the Syrian people against Assad in 2011 but grew to armed conflict quickly.
Rebel forces and the Syrian government have been involved in U.N. led talks, but despite agreeing to multiple ceasefires, the conflict continues.