319 people killed during 5 months of lawlessness in Syria's Idlib: monitor

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-27 23:39:51|Editor: yan
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DAMASCUS, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- At least 319 people have been killed during the past five months of lawlessness in rebel-held areas in Idlib province in northwestern Syria, a war monitor reported Thursday.

Around 250 rebel fighters were among those killed and the rest of the death toll is for civilians who were either assassinated or killed in explosions in Idlib, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Throughout the more than seven-year-long war, Idlib has emerged as the main destination and stronghold for the rebels fleeing other parts of Syria through deals or surrender.

The al-Qaida-linked groups, including the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, otherwise referred to as the Nusra Front, are the most powerful among other rebel factions in Idlib.

Due to the presence of many rebel groups with different affiliations in Idlib, the lawlessness has ramped up dramatically in recent months.

Earlier this month, Turkey, a backer of the opposition, and Russia, which is the key backer of the Syrian government, agreed to establish a demilitarized zone between the Syrian forces and the rebels in Idlib.

The deal averted Idlib a wide-scale military offensive by the Syrian army.

According to the deal, the rebels would withdraw from the demilitarized zone along with heavy weapons.

The establishment of the demilitarized zone is set for Oct. 15.

The Observatory, which claims to rely on a network of activists on the ground, said that no rebel groups have evacuated the planned demilitarized zone yet.

Recent reports said that groups affiliated with al-Qaida have rejected the Turkish-Russian deal in Idlib.