Shelling of Assad hometown 'wounds civilian', Syria regime media says

Shelling of Assad hometown 'wounds civilian', Syria regime media says
Syrian regime media accused hardline Islamist group HTS of shelling Assad's hometown of Qardaha and wounding a civilian
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The Syrian regime accused HTS rebels of the shelling [Getty]

Shelling hit the hometown of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the coastal province of Latakia on Wednesday, wounding a civilian, state media said, the second such attack in two months.

"Five shells were fired by terrorist groups deployed in the northern countryside on agricultural lands in the Qardaha area, wounding a citizen," the Syrian regime news agency SANA said, quoting a police source.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said a civilian was wounded in the attack that was carried out early in the morning by factions affiliated with the Islamist rebel Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group.

HTS, led by Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate, controls swathes of Idlib province as well as parts of the adjacent provinces of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia.

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In the previous attack on Qardaha, a civilian was killed in a drone strike on June 23, the British-based Observatory, which has a network of sources inside Syria, said at the time.

The latest shelling comes amid an uptick in attacks by regime ally Russia on Idlib province.

Moscow's intervention in the Syrian conflict since 2015 has helped the Assad regime claw back much of the territory it lost to rebel forces early in the 12-year civil war.

On Tuesday, five people including two civilians were killed in Russian strikes in Syria's rebel-held northwest.

The Syrian war broke out after Assad's repression of peaceful pro-democracy protests escalated into a deadly conflict that pulled in foreign powers and jihadists.

The conflict has killed more than half 500,000 people, mostly as a result of regime bombardment of civilian areas, and forced around half of the country's population from their homes.