Takfiri terrorists attack besieged Shia towns in Syria's Idlib: Monitor

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres

Moumtzis' comments came three days after an airstrike on the northwestern village of Zardana killed more than 40 people in one of the deadliest attacks in Idlib province this year.

Most of Idlib province is held by an array of Islamist and jihadist groups with only parts controlled by the Russian-backed government.

Idlib, which lies on the border with Turkey, has seen its population balloon to around 2 million people in recent years as fighters and civilians evacuated from other opposition areas are dumped there.

Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said strikes had also hit near a children's hospital, putting it out of service.

Late Saturday, fighters from Al-Qaeda's former Syrian affiliate attacked Fuaa and Kafraya, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The agency did not say who carried out the attack but the Islamic State group has presence nearby and in the past captured the town twice and destroyed some of its invaluable archaeological sites.

The fighting, which was continuing Sunday, had killed six Syrian pro-regime fighters and at least three from HTS.

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Fuaa and Kafraya are the only two places in Syria now designated as besieged by the United Nations after the government recaptured the Yarmouk Palestinian camp in southern Damascus.

The first four months of the year have seen more than 900,000 people flee their homes inside Syria.

They came under siege in 2015, when rebels ousted regime forces from a vast majority of Idlib province.

Referring to Turkey, Russia and Iran, which have held peace talks, he said: "This is a de-escalation area, we hope the Astana guarantors, everybody will do everything to ensure a calming down of situation".

Panos Moumtzis, UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, shows a Syria's map to the media during a press conference on humanitarian access in Syria, during a press conference, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, June 11, 2018. Russian Federation entered the Syria conflict in September 2015, offering support to Damascus, which changed the course of the war, allowing government troops to retake more than half the country from opposition and Daesh terrorists.

More than 350,000 people have been killed in the Syrian war since it started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

According to the United Nations, more than 920,000 people have been displaced in Syria this year, the highest level since the start of conflict in 2011.

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