At least two civilians were killed and two others injured in a rocket attack launched by Syrian regime forces on a camp for displaced people on the outskirts of the town of Sarmin in rebel-controlled Idlib province, according to a Syrian volunteer emergency relief group.
The Syrian civil defense group, also known as the White Helmets, said on Sunday that an elderly man and a woman were killed in the country’s northwestern province on Saturday, and two others were injured, including a child in serious condition.
The White Helmets said the camp, which hosts around 25 displaced families from Idlib and rural Hama, was bombarded by Syrian regime forces based in the town of Saraqib, east of Idlib.
“After our teams rescued the victims, provided medical assistance to the injured and extinguished the fire that broke out in the camp, the Syrian regime forces resumed shelling around the camp,” said Munir Mustafa, deputy director of the Syrian Civil Defense. .
Two civilians were killed (an elderly man and a woman) and two others injured in a rocket attack by regime forces targeting a camp on the outskirts of the town of #Sarmin in the eastern countryside of #Idlib on the evening of Saturday September 23. The attack also caused a… pic.twitter.com/puoyHN01PO
– The White Helmets (@SyriaCivilDef) September 24, 2023
Mustafa told Al Jazeera it was the fourth attack targeting a camp in northwest Syria and the second bombing against a camp on the outskirts of the town of Sarmin, which has been targeted by regime forces since months.
On September 2, the bombing of residential areas in Sarmin resulted in the death of a baby and injured four other civilians.
“Our teams responded to 711 attacks by the regime, Russia and their affiliated militias since the beginning of this year until September 12,” Mustafa said, adding that 61 people were killed, including 11 children and 5 women. , and 261 others. wounded.
“The escalation and terrorist attacks in northwest Syria threaten the stability of civilians in an area that has become the last refuge for thousands of families displaced by the regime and Russia,” Mustafa added.
Turkey and Russia reached a ceasefire deal in March 2020 after months of bloodshed following a military offensive by Russian-backed Syrian forces in Idlib, part of which was declared a de-escalation zone in 2017.
However, this agreement is repeatedly violated by Syrian regime forces.
Tarek al-Hamad, who was displaced from the eastern Hama countryside six years ago, lost his grandfather and aunt in Saturday’s rocket attack on the Sarmin camp.
The 20-year-old says the bombing hit his grandfather’s tent, about 50 meters from his own tent.
“I rushed to help my family leave the area, then returned to the camp to see my relatives and friends, and discovered my grandfather drowned in his own blood while he was in bed,” al-Hamad said.
“It was like the Day of Judgment, the sound of explosions, flames and dust filling the place, the cries of children and women.
“It is not enough for the (Bashar) al-Assad regime to drive us out of our city; now he wants to kill us even when we are in our tents,” he said.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that northwest Syria is home to 4.5 million people, 1.9 million of whom live in camps for displaced people.
Millions of Syrians from neighboring provinces like Hama and Aleppo have fled to the region during the 12-year war between the forces of President al-Assad and his allies on one side and armed opposition groups opposed to his rule. regime of the other.
“What happened yesterday is considered a crime in every sense of the word, confirming that the main and ultimate goal of the Assad regime is to kill the Syrian people wherever they are,” Ali said al-Ali, 64 years old, father of 10 children.
Al-Ali, who had to flee his village of Qasr Ibn Wardan in the eastern Hama countryside in 2017, was displaced again by Saturday’s bombings.
The 64-year-old and his family were left with only the clothes they were wearing and spent the night outside in open farmland.
“Starting today, I am forced to embark on a new journey of displacement, looking for a safe place to live with my family,” he said.
All its neighbors are now heading towards the Turkish-Syrian border, he said.
“We are humans and we have the right to live,” Al-Ali said. “How much longer will the international community remain silent in the face of the crimes committed against us by the Assad regime and Russia?