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January Review: 7 Killed in NW Syria in Attacks and Explosions of Remnants of War

A new year has dawned for the Syrian people, but it brings no new hope. Instead, the same tragedy and violence continue, perpetuated by Russia and the Assad regime for 11 long years. Despite the ongoing human suffering, the international community has largely turned a blind eye.

As the conflict enters its 12th year, the war against the Syrian people continues, with direct attacks and lingering war remnants claiming lives. The start of 2023 marked another month of bloodshed in Syria at the hands of Russia and the regime forces.

Last January witnessed a continuation of artillery and missile attacks by the regime forces, Russia and the militias loyal to them. Our teams documented 71 such attacks in northwestern Syria that resulted in the death of 3 individuals, including a woman, and injured 19 others, including 9 children and 3 women. Additionally, 4 civilians lost their lives and 9 others were injured due to unexploded war remnants.

Number of Attacks and Weapons Used

During the month of January, our teams documented 71 attacks in northwestern Syria, consisting of 56 artillery attacks, 2 surface-to-surface missile attacks, a guided heat missile attack, and 1 drone attack. The regime forces and Russia targeted villages, towns, and facilities such as a camp, a mosque, a school, and 19 homes.

Civilian Casualties

A civilian lost their life on Wednesday, January 18, as a result of artillery shelling by the regime forces and Russia that targeted the village of Al-Bara in Idlib countryside. On Sunday, January 22, a woman was killed in similar shelling in the village of Kafr Nuran in western Aleppo. On Wednesday evening, January 25, a person was killed by a missile strike from an unidentified drone in the village of Al-Hadath, east of Aleppo. The attack took place in front of a house.

Injuries Sustained

On Thursday, January 5, 5 civilians, including 4 children and a woman, were injured by missile strikes by the regime forces and Russia. The attack targeted a house housing displaced individuals near the Equestrian Camp, on the outskirts of Al-Foua in Idlib countryside.

On Thursday evening, January 19, 4 children and an elderly woman, including 4 from the same family (3 children and their grandmother), were injured due to artillery shelling by the regime forces and Russia that targeted their house in the village of Qastoun in the Al-Ghab Plain, south of Idlib.

On Friday, January 20, 8 people, including 3 children and a woman, were wounded by artillery shelling from areas controlled by the regime forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces in the city of Azaz, north of Aleppo.

A civilian was injured on Saturday, January 21, by artillery shelling by the regime forces and Russia that targeted a poultry farm on the outskirts of Darat Izza, west of Aleppo.

Unexploded Ordnance and its Victims

Remnants of war and unexploded ordnance continue to pose a grave risk to civilians in Syria. Contamination of vast areas and a lack of awareness among many civilians about the dangers posed by these weapons and their various forms prolong the potential for killings and death after the initial attack and use of cluster weapons by regime forces and Russia.

In January of 2023, our teams documented the devastating impact of unexploded ordnance, with the death of 4 civilians, including a child, and injury of 9 others, including 5 children and a woman. These incidents resulted from 8 explosions, including 4 from fire projectiles, 2 from explosive devices, 1 from a landmine, and 1 from an unknown cause.

In 2022, White Helmets teams responded to over 800 attacks by the Assad regime, Russia, and the militias loyal to them, including 63 air strikes carried out by Russia and 550 artillery attacks. These attacks resulted in the deaths of 165 individuals, including 55 children and 14 women. The Syrian Civil Defense teams were able to rescue 448 people who were injured, including 134 children.

The ongoing assaults in northwestern Syria are part of a larger strategy by Russia and the regime forces to instill fear in the population, cause instability in the region, and restrict civilians from leading normal lives through siege. The violence carried out by Russia and the regime forces is a political message written in the blood of innocent people, perpetuating the cycle of tragedy in Syria.