Field Developments and Displacement Movements in Idleb Flash Report (September 2018)
On 30 September 2015, after the Syrian regime lost control on 80% of its territory and Damascus capital almost came out of its control, the Russian parliament approved the use of the army for killing in Syria. On the same date the first Russian military operations in Syria has begun, where the Russian forces were leading most of the military operations of the Syrian regime on the ground, while Russian Air Force (RUAF) were supporting the Syrian forces from the air.
The Syrian regime seeks to restore all the areas that have come out of its control by sieging it, as well as launching a large-scale military operation that force it to comply with its demands under the name of “reconciliation operations”’. The regime receives political and military support from its international allies under the international community silence on the massacres perpetrated against civilians. Over seven years, the Syrian regime forcibly displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians from all governorates to Idleb governorate, where these IDPs considered Idleb as their last refuge.
After the regime regained the military control over all the governorates that were held by the opposition, he tends now to take control over Idleb governorate. On 9 August 2018, the regime's air forces dropped leaflets over opposition-held Idleb governorate, calling on its people to make reconciliation and warning them of an impending military campaign against the governorate. Meanwhile, the regime began to mobilize its forces on all the governorate borders. On 10 August 2018, the Syrian regime shelled the cities and towns of Idleb, Aleppo and Hama governorate. In the western countryside of Aleppo, Big Orm town located within Atareb sub-district was shelled by three successive air strikes, killing 47 civilians and leaving dozens injured, some of whom are in critical conditions. The regime air forces dropped 30 explosive barrels over Skik, Tamanaah, and the Um Jalal villages in Tamanaah sub-district. The regime also shelled Jisr-Ash-Shugur city with heavy artillery, whereas it attacked the town of Khan Shaykun with air raids; killing seven civilians. In addition to this, the shelling that hit Tah town in Heish sub-district has left three civilians dead. The regime’s heavy machine guns air raided the town of Ma'arrat An Nu'man, causing a fire to break up in its central hospital. The Educational Assemblies in the governorate announced the suspension of the summer activities of schools for three days in the sub-districts of Khan Shaykun, Ma'arrat An Nu'man, and Kafr Nobol; because of hostilities. On 12 August 2018, the regime blocked up the al-Madiq Castle passageway in the northern countryside of Hama. This crossing is considered the road that connects between the regime-held areas and the opposition-held areas. Moreover, the regime shelled the towns of Latmana, Latmin, Zayzun, Sarmaniya, Qalidin, Hawash and Kafr Nabutha in the northern countryside of Hama. This aggression left two persons dead in addition to several injuries. On 27 August 2018, Syrian and Russian forces spread a rumour that Kafr Zeita city has become depopulated, and only armed fighters remained there, adding to that, these fighters have transferred chemical weapons to Kafr Zeita city. The local council responded to these rumours by issuing a statement confirming the presence of civilians within their homes and denied the existence of any chemical weapons within the city.
The population at Kafr Zeita went out in a demonstration which confirms the presence of civilians within the city to stop the rumours broadcasted by the Syrian regime and its Russian allies. Local sources confirm that the Syrian regime is preparing to target the city by chemical weapons and accusing the opposition factions of this targeting. Whereas, several countries reported from its own sources that Syrian regime is preparing for using chemical weapon against civilians in Idleb, prompting these countries to threaten the Syrian regime of reacting in case of using the chemical weapons there.
On 31 August 2018, Idleb governorate and its surrounding countryside of Aleppo and Hama governorates have witnessed demonstrations at 100 demonstration points. The demonstrators held banners that rejected any military action by the regime and its allies on the liberated areas. The Syrian Revolution flag was raised at all the demonstration points. On 4 September 2018, RUAF targeted Jisr-Ash-Shugur district in Idleb governorate with 20 air strikes, killing 12 civilians, including five children. The RUAF also targeted Ariha district in Idleb governorate with several air strikes, Where Mhambal town was targeted by four air strikes, killing three women, Sahen town was targeted by two air strikes, and Bsanqul, Northern Laj, Al-Badriya, Anb and Jadraya towns were targeted by several air strikes. On 7 September 2018, in Ma'arrat An Nu'man district, the southern countryside of Idleb governorate; RUAF targeted Hbit village with several air strikes, killing four civilians and injuring several others. On 8 September 2018, in Ma'arrat An Nu'man district, the southern countryside of Idleb governorate; the Syrian regime helicopters targeted the town of Khan Shaykun with explosive barrels. An act that rendered the civil defense center out of service, killing of a child and several people sustained injuries. The regime has also targeted the road connecting the town of Khan Shaykun and Kafrsajna with explosive barrels, killing one woman and injuring several civilians. In Has town, the hospital called Nabdh Al-Hayat has been rendered inoperative as a result of forthright targeting the facility with explosive barrels by the regime. In the meantime, with over 50 missile and artillery shells, the regime shelled the towns of Elsarj, Borj, Karsanti and Um Jalal. Aggression that led to the displacement of the entire people living in these villages towards the neighboring Turkish point, towards the north.
RUAF attacked the village of Abdin with several air strikes, killing six civilians and injuring dozens. In the northern countryside of Hama, Al-Madiq Castle and Tweini towns were subjected to heavily shelled with heavy artillery and missile launchers, killing four civilians and wounding dozens. Latmana hospital has been rendered out of service as a result of hitting the facility directly with explosive barrels by the regime helicopters, which also targeted the towns and villages of Latmana. On 9 September 2018, In Ma'arrat An Nu'man district, the southern countryside of Idleb governorate; the Syrian regime and the Russian Air Force (RUAF) targeted Hbit town with 25 air strikes, caused in killing two children and a civilian, in addition to dozens of injuries. The local council of Kafr Zeita sub-district in a statement issued has announced that Kafr Zeita is a disaster-stricken area. The Syrian regime targeted Jarjnaz, Tah, and Heish towns with cluster bombs, resulting in six martyrs and wounding others. The Syrian air force also targeted civil defense teams in the vicinity of Khan Shaykun town, during their aid to the casualties, caused in injuring two members of the civil defense crews.
In the northern countryside of Hama, the Syrian air force and RUAF targeted the villages of Kafr Zeita sub-district (Latmana, Kafr Zeita, Latmin, Sayad, Zakat, Arbain, Hasraya, and Maarkaba) with 100 air strikes, in addition to 200 missile and artillery shells, killing four civilians and injuring dozens.