Atareb, Syria (AFP): Syrian army shelling killed an elderly woman and four of her children in the war-torn country’s northwest, rescue workers and a monitor said on Thursday.
The overnight bombardment targeted their house in Kfar Nuran, close to the front line in the last rebel stronghold in the western province of Aleppo.
“An elderly woman and four of her children were killed in shelling by regime forces on the outskirts of Kfar Nuran,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor.
The White Helmets rescue group also said a house was hit, killing “five civilians from the same family, including three women,” and wounding another woman.
The group, which operates in rebel-held parts of Syria, said they were a family who had been displaced by fighting elsewhere in the country.
The bodies of the woman and her adult children, two daughters and two sons, were wrapped in white shrouds and taken to a location near the town of Atareb, an AFP correspondent said.
More than four million people live in rebel-held parts of northern and northwestern Syria.
The area targeted is close to the front line between government forces and Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, a jihadist group that is led by the former Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda.
The HTS controls the last pocket of armed opposition in northeastern Syria, including a large part of Idlib province and land bordering the provinces of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia.
A cease-fire brokered by Russia and Turkiye was declared in Idlib after a government offensive in March 2020, but it has been repeatedly violated.
On Wednesday, a girl was killed and seven civilians wounded in government shelling of Sarmin, in the east of Idlib province, said the Observatory, a Britain-based group with a network of sources on the ground in Syria.
Civil war erupted in Syria after President Bashar Assad’s security forces crushed peaceful protests in 2011.
With backing from Iran and Russia, the Assad government has recaptured most of the territory it lost at the start of the conflict.
The war has killed more than 500,000 people and displaced millions.