London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says regime bombardments also took the lives of eight children, seven women and three men in the Idlib region in the last 48 hours.

Members of
Members of "The White Helmet" carry a wounded woman following a strike in the town of Khan Shaykhun in the southern countryside of the rebel-held Idlib province, on February 15, 2019. (AFP)

Syrian regime bombardment has killed 18 civilians in the last major region outside regime control in northwest Syria over the past 48 hours, a war monitor said on Saturday.

Artillery and rocket fire launched by regime forces took the lives of eight children, seven women and three men in the Idlib region, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The deadly bombardment hit the towns of Maaret al Noman and Khan Sheikhun, said the Britain-based monitor, which relies on sources inside Syria for its information.

Sporadic regime raids

Idlib region is mainly controlled by the Hayat Tahrir al Sham, a Syrian group led by former al Qaeda, after they last month pushed back smaller, Turkey-backed rebel outfits.

Since September, the region has been protected from a massive regime offensive by a ceasefire deal brokered by regime ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey.

But sporadic regime bombardment has continued to hit the region, and hundreds of missiles rained down on Maaret al Noman, Khan Sheikhun, and other areas on Friday and Saturday.

Assad's gains

Almost eight years into Syria's grinding civil war, Syria's regime leader Bashar al Assad controls around two-thirds of the country.

His army and allied fighters have made great gains against rebels and other armed groups fighting against him since Russia's military intervened on the side of Damascus in 2015.

The war started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-Assad protests and has since spiraled into a complex conflict involving world powers that has killed more than 400,000 people.

Friday and Saturday's deadly bombardment comes as the world waits for US-backed forces to expel the Daesh group from a final holdout in eastern Syria.

Source: AFP