Syrian Strikes Kill 18 Civilians in al-Qaeda-Held Northwest

Six children reportedly among the slain

Fighting in northwestern Syria, centering on al-Qaeda-held Idlib Province, is growing substantially. Syrian airstrikes and artillery fire pounded the area, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reporting at least 18 civilians killed in the area.

The largest incident took place in Ariha, in Idlib Province, where 10 civilians, including four children, were reported killed. Dozens of other civilians were reported wounded in the strikes as well.

This has been a recurring problem wherever fighting has turned in Syria, because it often involves contesting populated areas. This was an even bigger concern in Idlib, where a lot of civilians have been relocated from previous fighting.

Ceasefires and buffer zones were intended to prevent fighting over Idlib as long as possible, but with al-Qaeda in control of the area, and pushing against government-controlled Hama Province, inevitably leading to a counter-offensive.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of