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In the Syrian province of Idlib, a cease-fire quickly buried

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Displaced Syrians take advantage of the ceasefire to return to their village, in Idlib province, Syria, on August 4. AAREF WATAD / AFP

The fragile lull will have been short-lived: four days after announcing a truce in its offensive on north-west Syria, Damascus resumed Monday, August 5, with its ally Russian, air raids against the province of Idlib, held by anti-Assad fighters.

Despite the skepticism about its durability, the rivalry, fired by artillery fire on both sides of the front line, was accompanied by civilian returns. to the south of this region, the most affected by three months of Russian-Syrian offensive. Some had come for their belongings. Others, finding shelter after spending weeks in the open, huddle under olive trees in the north of the province, away from the air strikes.

In the Syrian province of Idlib, a cease-fire quickly buried
Residents of Khan Cheikhoun (Syria) are taking advantage of the ceasefire to recover personal belongings in the rubble of their homes on August 3. OMAR HAJ KADOUR / AFP

"Everyone knew that the cease-fire could be broken at any time. But during the truce, we saw a movement of civilians eager to return home at least momentarily. It's also because of the lack of alternatives that they have returned to the south. "says Isam Khatib, director of Kesh Malek, an organization of Syrian civil society. International humanitarian aid has been insufficient since the beginning of the crisis, though long-standing.

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New moves are emerging. The air raids on Monday killed at least four people. They focused on the city of Khan Cheikhoun, already hit hard, and on a portion of the adjoining province of Hama that escapes the regime's control.

To justify the resumption of bombing, Damascus and Moscow have accused the anti-Assad fighters of dominant Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) jihadists and rebels from targeting the base. Hmeimim, located on the insurgent shelling scale in the province of Latakia. After discordant statements about the losses, Moscow claimed that three rockets had been fired on a nearby village.

"It reminded me of Rakka."

The ceasefire announced on 1st August, while there were negotiations between Russia, Iran (regime sponsors) and Turkey (support of the rebels) in Kazakhstan, followed the stalemate, despite the intense air strikes, of the Syrian army on the ground, against the counter-attacks of its enemies.

"The Russians got the opposite of what they expected: the Syrian army was not able to advance, Moscow fails to convince the Iranian militia. [qui on un rôle-clé dans d’autres offensives] to participate in the battle, and HTS and factions have gained popular support. "says Dareen Khalifa, researcher on Syria at the International Crisis Group (ICG).

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