New satellite images went viral on social media yesterday showed fields, orchards and olive groves burning in the northwest of Syria, where the Syrian army has waged an offensive against opposition forces in Idlib in their last major stronghold.
Reuters reported that the Syrian regime’s air strikes, backed by Russia, had focused on the south of the Idlib province and the nearby parts of Hama. The assault had led to the displacement of 250,000 of the province’s residents.
The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) charity – a US-based non-governmental, medical, and humanitarian organisation – has said that the bombing had left 229 civilians dead and 727 injured.
UOSSM, which operates in opposition territories, noted that the army’s bombings and air strikes on Tuesday had killed 24 people, including children, in villages located in the northwestern parts of Syria.
The photos, provided by satellite imagery provider DigitalGlobe Inc, showed plumes of dark smoke rising from the countryside surrounding the Al-Habeet village in Idlib and the small town of Kafr Nabouda in Hama.
The before and after-the-fire images, collected at the start and end of last week, showed patches of scorched earth, fields blackened by fire, and clusters of destroyed buildings. Some of the fires had appeared to be still burning.
The head of the Idlib civil defence, Mustafa Al-Haj Yousef, told Reuters that the regime warplanes were “pounding crop fields, sparking dozens of fires.”
On Tuesday, state news agency SANA said that “militants” had shelled villages in the northern countryside of Hama, damaging houses and burning wheat fields.
The onslaught since late April, focused mostly on southern parts of Idlib province and adjacent parts of Hama and Latakia, marks the most intense conflict between President Bashar al-Assad and his insurgent enemies since last summer.