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Over 270 Civilians Killed or Wounded in Five-Day Assault by Assad Regime and Russia

The absence of accountability and persistent impunity for crimes continues to enable the Syria regime in bombing residential neighborhoods, vital facilities, and schools.

Regime and Russian forces have drastically and systematically escalated their missile and aerial attacks in northwestern Syria over a five-day period, from October 4th to 8th, employing internationally prohibited incendiary and cluster weapons, and killing and wounding over 270 civilians. This situation compounds the enduring tragedy that has plagued the region for over 12 years and undermines the educational system and disrupts the means of livelihood and recovery, which have yet to fully recover from the devastating earthquake that struck the area on February 6th of the earlier this year.

Victims and Rescued Lives

The attacks during the five days led to the tragic loss and injury of many civilians. Our teams documented the deaths of 46 civilians, including 13 children and 9 women. Additionally, 213 civilians were wounded in these attacks, among them 69 children and 41 women. Among the injured were two White Helmets volunteers, who were targeted in Idlib while they were on duty.

The third day of escalation on October 6th proved to be the deadliest, claiming the lives of 15 civilians, including 3 children and a woman. Approximately 80 civilians were injured, including 24 children and 14 women, due to deliberate terrorist attacks perpetrated by regime forces. These attacks involved heavy artillery shells, rocket launchers, incendiary projectiles, internationally prohibited cluster munitions, and airstrikes by Russian warplanes. The assaults targeted more than 22 cities, towns, and villages in the countryside of Idlib and Aleppo, striking residential areas, markets, tents for displaced people, and earthquake-affected regions.

Targeted Infrastructure

The systematic attacks carried out by the Assad regime and Russia targeted 50 cities and towns in the Idlib and Aleppo countryside. These attacks aimed at densely populated areas, resulting in the destruction of crucial infrastructure and public facilities. White Helmets teams and humanitarian workers were also directly targeted, actions explicitly prohibited by international conventions. The primary objective of these attacks was to forcibly displace civilians and destroy the essential elements of life that underpin their stability.

Among the targeted sites were ten educational facilities, including nine schools and a building belonging to the Directorate of Education. Furthermore, five medical facilities bore the brunt of the attacks, leading to extensive damage. The assault also extended to five mosques, four markets, three camps, three poultry farms, a power station, and four White Helmets centers, including a Women and Family Health Center.

Weapons Used

Between October 4th and 8th, The White Helmets responded to 148 artillery, missile, and aerial attacks by the regime and Russia. These attacks involved hundreds of shells and rockets, including 7 Russian aerial attacks, 59 missile attacks (using hundreds of missiles), and 74 artillery attacks (using hundreds of shells). Additionally, there were 4 attacks with internationally prohibited incendiary rockets and a ground-to-ground missile attack loaded with internationally banned cluster munitions.

Wave of Displacement

Several cities and towns, including Idlib, Ariha, Jisr al-Shughour, Sarmin, and Darat Izza, as well as towns in Jabal al-Zawiya and western rural Idlib, such as Afes, al-Neirab, Termanin, and al-Apazmu, witnessed a movement of displacement among the residents due to the recent escalation in the area. Many families in these cities and towns, despite the significant danger to their lives, are unable to flee due to the lack of resources and the absence of safe havens, amidst an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. As the new school year begins and winter approaches, our teams have relocated a number of families to temporary shelters and camps.

The military escalation by the regime forces and Russia in northwestern Syria reaffirms their policy of killing Syrians and destroying everything that supports their lives. They employ prohibited weapons, blatantly violating international humanitarian law. The international community, the United Nations, and all human rights organizations are urged to firmly stand with civilians, assume their responsibilities, halt the Assad regime's attacks on over 4 million civilians, take effective and deterrent action to stop these attacks, and promptly hold the Assad regime and Russia accountable for their crimes.