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Eleven dead after Jihadi missile attack on Aleppo

A missile attack on Aleppo by jihadist groups has killed at least 11 people, according to Syrian media.

The Syrian state news agency, SANA, reported that missiles were fired by “terrorist groups” killing 11 people and wounding 11. According to the British based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the missiles were fired by jihadist groups including Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). On its website, it claimed the death toll is slightly higher, at 12, including 7 members of the regime forces and other forces loyal to the regime. HTS is a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK and was previously affiliated with al-Qaeda.

The jihadist attack was reportedly launched in response to heavy airstrikes currently taking place in the province of Idlib by the Russian air force. Idlib is the last remaining stronghold controlled by forces opposed to the Assad regime, including HTS. Russian airstrikes are targeted at HTS’s supply route along the Aleppo-Idlib highway near the key town of Ariha. Rebels also control parts of the neigbouring provinces of Hama, Aleppo and Latakia.

In September 2018, a Russian-Turkish agreement created a 15-20 km demilitarised zone between government forces and rebel fighters in Idlib province but this has been repeatedly violated, with the Syrian army and Russian air force carrying out bombing raids and armed groups including HTS launching attacks against government-held positions. The eastern half of the city of Aleppo was previously under rebel control, and since the Assad regime regained control at the end of 2016, armed groups and rebel fighters have targeted the city intermittently.

Al-Masdar News reported that the Turkish Army carried out a new attack against the Kurdish forces in the north of Aleppo Governorate on Monday. According to the report, the army heavily shelled the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the small-town of Khaljibrin.

The UN estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war since it started in 2011.