Children and women killed in Russian forces’ shelling of Balshoun village in Idlib on August 19

At dawn on August 19, 2021, artillery forces which we believe were Russian, accompanied by a Russian surveillance plane overhead, fired five shells, equipped with the Krasnopol laser guidance system, at Balshoun village in Jabal al Zaweya in the southern suburbs of Idlib governorate. One shell hit a house in the west of the village, killing four civilians from the same family (three children and their mother) and damaging the house’s structure. This was followed by a shell, fired by the same forces, which hit another house, also in the west of the village, killing a child.
SNHR notes that this shelling is a breach of the ceasefire agreement reached following consultations between the Turkish and Russian presidents, which came into effect on March 6, 2020.
Through this action, Russian forces have, without doubt, committed another violation of Security Council resolutions 2139 and 2254 which prohibit any further indiscriminate attacks, as well as violating the rules of international humanitarian law which stress the distinction between civilians and combatants. Attacks of this nature spread terror and panic among civilians, leading them to flee their lands and homes in an attempt to reach safety, and forcibly displacing them, with the number of internally displaced persons within Syria currently standing at approximately 6.5 million Syrian citizens in total. The international community should put pressure on the Syrian regime and its allies to force them to compensate the displaced victims, rehabilitate homes and vital centers, support the process of political transition, and press all parties to pursue implementation of political transition according to a strict timetable which must not exceed six months, thus enabling millions of IDPs to return homes.

Exclusive photo for SNHR shows the bodies of the victims killed in Russian forces’ shelling of the village.
Exclusive photo for SNHR shows remnants of a shell fired by Russian forces at the village.
Photo shows the destruction caused to a house in the village by Russian forces’ shelling.