World

Syria regime fire kills eight in school turned into refugee shelter

AFP-JIJI

Land-to-land missiles fired by Syrian regime forces killed eight civilians, including four children, in a school in northwestern Syria on Wednesday, a war monitor said.

Part of the building in the town of Sarmeen had been turned into a shelter for the displaced, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Sixteen people were wounded, including some in a critical condition, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

An AFP correspondent in Sarmeen saw the remains of a missile several meters long fuming in a nearby olive grove.

In the latest round of violence in Syria’s nearly nine-year-old war, regime forces have upped their deadly bombardment of the northwestern opposition bastion of Idlib in recent weeks.

In December alone, the violence pushed some 284,000 from their homes in the jihadi-run region of some 3 million people, the United Nations says.

The mass movement of people has seen public buildings such as mosques, garages, wedding halls and schools turned into shelters, U.N. humanitarian agency OCHA says.

Regime ally Russia announced a cease-fire for Idlib in late August after months of deadly Russian and regime bombardments that killed around 1,000 civilians.

But sporadic clashes and bombardments persisted throughout the autumn before a spike in violence in the past month, the Observatory says.

Syria’s civil war has killed more than 370,000 people since it started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

In total 11,215 people, including more than 1,000 children, were killed during the war last year, although it was the least deadly year on record since the beginning of the conflict.