Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations, on Friday, sought a prompt end to the hostilities in Idlib province, held by Syria's opposition, stating that the latest attempts at a ceasefire have failed to protect civilian lives.
Having supported the Syrian rebels fighting to bring down President Bashar al-Assad, Turkey agreed to a truce with Russia. It was expected to see effective implementation earlier this month in the stronghold of three million people.
Syrian jets renew assaults
But witnesses and insurgent sources said pro-Assad Russian and Syrian jets have been hitting the province in a renewed assault. Moscow denied bombing civilians."It is deeply distressing that civilians are still being killed on a daily basis in missile strikes from both the air and ground," Bachelet said in a statement.
"This agreement – as with others in the past year – has yet again failed to protect civilians." Her office received reports that airstrikes resumed on Jan. 15, she said. Armed groups had also carried out deadly ground-based attacks.
1,506 civilians killed
"People are still being killed, many people, on both sides of the divide," U.N. human rights spokesman Jeremy Laurence told a news briefing. Since hostilities intensified in the so-called "de-escalation zone" in Idlib on April 29, U.N. monitors have verified incidents in which 1,506 civilians, including 293 women and 433 children, were killed, he said.
Around 350,000 Syrians, mostly women, and children, have fled Idlib since early December, and sought shelter in border areas near Turkey, the United Nations said on Thursday.
(With agency inputs)