Syrians in Maaret al-Numan live in fear following Russian airstrikes massacre

Syrians in Maaret al-Numan live in fear following Russian airstrikes massacre
People in the Syrian city of Maaret al-Numan are too afraid to leave their homes following Russian airstrikes which killed 43 people on Monday.
2 min read
24 July, 2019
An injured man is evacuated following Monday's airstrikes [Getty]

People in the opposition-held Syrian city of Maaret al-Numan are living in fear following a massacre which took place on Monday.

Russian planes struck a crowded market in the centre of the city with nine bombs on Monday killing 43 people.

Approximately 149,000 people live in the city, including 6,000 families who have fled there from other parts of Syria.

“We’re still looking under the rubble for missing people, Obadah Al-Zakra, the chief of Maaret al-Numan’s civil defence, told The New Arab.

"There’s a child aged two who is still missing, and even though we searched for him intensely among all the buildings destroyed by yesterday’s airstrike, we can’t find any sign of him.”

He added, “There’s a state of extreme fear and terror in Maaret al-Numan, the streets are empty and the shops are shut and people are very afraid of bombing. Planes belonging to the regime are in the sky.”

More than 650 people, including 150 children, have been killed and 330,000 people have been displaced in a Russian-backed Assad regime assault on Idlib province which began in late April.

Displaced people have been sheltering in fields and olive groves because there is no room for them in refugee camps and the Turkish border is closed.

Abu Omar Al-Shami, who came to Maaret al-Numan as a refugee from Damascus, told The New Arab: “People are afraid to go out in the streets, they only go out in the morning to buy essential goods.

"There’s a lot of fear that the bombing will resume. What’s making people more afraid is the deterioration in health services – health centres are
being closed down because they are the prime targets of bombing.”

More than 30 medical facilities have been attacked in Idlib province since the regime assault began in April.

Muhammad Maarawi, a local resident of Maaret al-Numan, said his “first and last priority is to protect my family."

"All civilians feel the same way but leaving to a place inside Syria is very difficult. Some families aren’t able to buy enough food to eat, so how can they pay for the costs of seeking refuge elsewhere? The people of southern Idlib province are basically under siege,” he said.

More than 500,000 people have been killed since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011, which began after the Assad regime brutally suppressed peaceful demonstrations.

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