Syrian regime artillery forces, accompanied by a Russian reconnaissance plane hovering in the skies overhead, fired shells at Ariha city in the southern suburbs of Idlib governorate on the morning of October 20. The shells hit several areas of the city resulting in civilian casualties, with one shell hitting the city’s al Hal Market, partially damaging a number of shops and market facilities. Another shell landed near Abdul Hamid Ghnaimi School, known as ‘Banat Ariha’ School, and another one landed near the city’s educational complex, partially damaging the two facilities.
SNHR can confirm that these vital facilities are located within a residential area free of any military presence and equipment.
Through this action, Syrian regime 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 refugees and IDPs to return homes.