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Syria’s Rebel-Held Idlib Was Hit by 200 Air Strikes

Syria’s Rebel-Held Idlib Was Hit by 200 Air Strikes
People walk past debris following air strikes by government forces, in the town of Ariha, Idlib province, Syria, 15 January 2020.

The Rebel-held Idlib was hit by at least 200 air strikes, mainly targeting civilians, in the past three days.

United States Special Representative for Syria Engagement and the Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat IS, James Jeffrey, said that the attacks in Idlib province had been carried out by the Syrian government and its ally, Russia.

Air strikes by pro-Assad forces on opposition-held territory in northern Syria have forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee to areas near the Turkish border, and led to at least to 20 deaths.

According to the UN, around 390,000 civilians have fled towards the Turkish border since Syrian government forces, backed by Russian air power, began its latest offensive on Idlib in December 2019. Other sources reported that latest Assad assault has displaced at least 700,000 civilians in the opposition-held territory in northern Syria.

On 29 January 2020, pro-Assad soldiers captured the strategically important town of Maarat al-Numan. Now, the have pushed further north towards Ariha and Saraqeb.

On 31 January 2020, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Turkey was prepared to use “military force” in Syria. He also added that Syria has been continuously threatening Turkey with migration and that Turkey “could not stand by as mere spectators as new threats come toward our [Turkey’s] borders.”