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3 dead as Syria regime launches assault on Homs, Hama

Smoke rises after the Assad Regime carried out air strikes in eastern Ghouta, Syria on 5 March 2018 [Mouneb Taim/Anadolu Agency]

The Syrian regime launched a renewed assault on opposition groups in the province of Homs yesterday, according to Syrian news agency Zaman Al-Wasl.

At least three civilians, including one child, were killed by government forces in the eastern countryside of the province, as airstrikes fell on the villages of Deir Foul, Izza Al-Din and Al-Kul north of the city.

Last night the military successfully took the control of the strategically significant point of Al-Jin mountain, between the provinces of Homs and Hama. Whilst regime troops also briefly entered Salim village, opposition forces retook the town earlier today following fierce clashes.

Whilst, opposition forces have resisted much of the ground attack, killing or wounding some 20 government troops, heavy bombardment has continued to take place today.

Read: Russia’s Putin predicts global ‘chaos’ if West hits Syria again

Despite US coalition strikes at Damascus over the weekend, the government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, along with its ally Russia, has intensified its bombing campaign in a bid to gain ground from opposition groups.

The renewed campaign started earlier this year with the bombing campaign on the besieged province of Eastern Ghouta, killing over 1,600 people. All opposition groups have now departed the province following the chemical attack on the town of Douma, which killed over 80 people, prompting outrage across the world.

Airstrikes haves also continued in the north of the country on the largest opposition held area of Idlib; last week a suspected Russian air strike close to a market square left 27 people dead and over 150 injured. Last month, a Russian air strike on a school in the village of Kafr Batikh killed 20 people 16 of whom were children. The incident marked the second massacre that week after 22 people were killed at a camp for internally displaced people in Hass, in the south of Idlib.

Earlier this month, the presidents of Russia, Iran and Turkey met in Ankara to discuss how to effectively de-escalate the conflict. Despite releasing a statement after the meeting expressing their commitment to “speed up their efforts to ensure calm on the ground” in Syria, rifts prevented the three states from agreeing on how to reduce violence, with the stated common ground limited to humanitarian endeavours.

Read: Pope deeply disturbed by lack of efforts to bring peace to Syria

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