Smoke rises after Syrian warplanes carried out air strikes on the town of Arihah in Idlib province in 2019. The area now is a stronghold of HTS, a jihadist rebel group. Photo: Anadolu Agency / Muhammed Said

Regime and Russian bombardment on Sunday killed 11 civilians in northwestern Syria where ramped up attacks by the two allies have claimed hundreds of lives since April, a war monitor said.

The strikes came as regime forces launched an assault on jihadists and allied rebels in Hama province, killing 9 combatants, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The fighting in the village of Tal Maleh in northern Hama also left four regime fighters dead, the Britain-based monitor added.

Northern Hama along with Idlib province and parts of Aleppo and Latakia are under the control of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a jihadist group led by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate.

The region is supposed to be protected from a massive government offensive by a September buffer zone deal, but it has come under increasing fire by Damascus and its backer Moscow over the past three months.

Regime airstrikes killed five civilians in the Idlib town of Ariha on Sunday, said the Observatory.

Russian raids, meanwhile, killed three civilians in northern Hama, according to the monitor.

Shelling and airstrikes by the regime also killed three other civilians elsewhere in the northwest, it added.

The bombardment comes a day after regime and Russian airstrikes on the region killed 15 civilians, including 11 in Ariha, the monitor said.

Some three million people, nearly half of them already displaced from other parts of the country, live in the Idlib region.

Attacks by the Syrian regime and its ally Russia have claimed more than 750 lives there since late April, according to the war monitor.

The UN says more than 400,000 people have been displaced.

The war in Syria has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.

– Agence France-Presse

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