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Syria regime ramps down
Aleppo bombing: NGO

The Syrian Human Rights Committee issued a report that the start of the Turkish military operation on July 24 has led to the “near total cessation of barrel bombing.”

A Syrian jet flies over Aleppo. (AFP/Tauseef Mustafa)

BEIRUT – The Syrian regime has cut back its aerial bombardment campaign in the Aleppo province following the start of Turkish airstrikes against ISIS in northern Syria, according to an NGO monitoring casualties in the war-torn country.

 

The Syrian Human Rights Committee issued a report Wednesday stating that the start of the Turkish military operation on July 24 has led to the “near total cessation of barrel bombing in the Aleppo province.”

 

The NGO further claimed that the cessation of raids has led to a large decline in the number of victims in the area, as well as a decline in the overall number of victims in Syria, as Aleppo has seen the highest death tolls in the country over the last nine months, with the exception of last April, when the highest number of deaths were in Idlib.

 

According to daily documentation of victims carried out by the Syrian Human Rights Committee, the number of victims in Aleppo province has hit a record low since July 24 compared with averages in the province in the last two years. None of the victims since that date have died because of bombing from the air, according to the report.

 

Chart

A chart prepared by the SHRC shows the decline in civilian casualties in Aleppo.

 

The NGO noted that the regime’s air raids on the Aleppo province had continued unabated from the end of 2012 until last week, with the exception of early 2014 when a heavy snowstorm blanketed northwestern Syria.  

 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, in turn, has reported far less regime airstrikes in the Aleppo province in the past week, with raids occurring on July 24 and July 25, after which the monitoring NGO only noted strikes on July 28 north of Aleppo as well as continuing bombardment around the Kuweires airbase that is besieged by ISIS.

 

The last report of a mass-casualty regime barrel bombing in the Aleppo province came on July 22, when thirteen civilians were killed in the village of Qasr al-Bryj.

 

Turkey’s aerial campaign

 

The reported drop-off in regime bombardment comes after Turkey in the early hours of July 24 hit a number of ISIS targets in northern Syria.

 

Ankara has since ramped up a dual campaign aimed against the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and ISIS that seeks to create a “safe zone” in a stretch of Syrian territory along Turkey’s border that is currently held by ISIS.

 

Although Turkey has made no official announcements regarding the establishment of a no-fly zone, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported last Friday that the deal stuck up with the US for the use of the Incirlik airbase included an agreement for a “partial no-fly zone” in northern Syria.

 

Sources told the newspaper that the no-fly zone will stretch for 90 kilometers west to east from the Syrian towns of Maare and Jarablus and will be approximately 50 kilometers deep, covering a swathe of territory currently controlled by ISIS.

 

“Following a final declaration of the agreement on the no-fly zone, the jets of the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria will not be permitted within the zone, and those which violate this will be targeted,” sources told the daily.

A Syrian jet flies over Aleppo. (AFP/Tauseef Mustafa)

According to daily documentation of victims carried out by the Syrian Human Rights Committee, the number of victims in Aleppo province has hit a record low since July 24.