The seemingly endless Syrian war has claimed the lives of more than 100 civilians over the past 10 days, the United Nations reported on Friday.
According to U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, at least 103 are documented to have died as a result of Syrian government airstrikes in the northwest pocket of the country – including Idlib and Hama – which is considered to be the last stronghold of rebel fighters.
“These are civilian objects, and it seems highly unlikely, given the persistent pattern of such attacks, that they are all being hit by accident,” Bachelet said in a statement, according to Reuters.
The majority of deaths came Monday, when about 50 civilians are reported to have died following an air attack on a busy market.
The area under bombardment remains under the thumb of militant outfit Hayat Tahir al-Sham, which was previously affiliated with Al Qaeda and remains a designated terrorist organization by the U.S.
This photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Syrian White Helmet civil defense workers searchING for victims from under the rubble of a destroyed building that hit by a Syrian government airstrike, in the northern town of Ariha, in Idlib Province, Syria, earlier this month. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)
The Damascus-led offensive to take back the reins of the conflict-torn country picked up in April. Since then, the U.N. estimates that at least 400,000 people have been displaced from their homes and are living in the streets and near the now-closed border with Turkey, according to Agence France-Presse.
Countless more have been killed since April – at least 730 civilians, according to calculations by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – in a conflict that has dragged on for more than eight years, uprooted more than two-thirds of the country and claimed the lives of half a million people.
David Swanson, a representative for the U.N humanitarian affairs agency OCHA, also underscored that officials have registered an uptick in air assaults against health facilities and medical personnel in the area, documenting 39 attacks since the end of April. Moreover, at least 50 schools have been ruined.
Despite the overwhelming consensus from the international community that the Syrian government and its ally Russia are intentionally targeting civilians in a military campaign, both Damascus and Moscow have rebutted the accusations.