Two young children, a brother and sister identified respectively as six-year-old Mustafa Mohammad al-Mustafa, and four-year-old Hala Mohammad al-Mustafa, were killed on August 26, 2023, in an artillery attack by Syrian regime forces who fired multiple shells at their home village of Kansafra in southern rural Idlib governorate. One of the shells hit the children’s family’s home, killing them both and injuring five other civilians. The shelling also partially destroyed a number of other houses in the village.
The area, which is under the joint control of armed opposition factions and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), is located on the dividing lines with Syrian regime forces. The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) notes that through this attack, Syrian regime forces have again unequivocally violated Security Council resolutions 2139 & 2254, both of which categorically prohibit indiscriminate attacks, as well as violating the rules of international humanitarian law on distinguishing between civilians and fighters. Such attacks aim solely to spread fear and panic among civilians, and to drive them from their lands and homes, and forcibly displace them. It is estimated that 6.5 million people are currently internally displaced in Syria.
The international community must put pressure on the Syrian regime and its allies to support a process of political transition. Pressure should be applied on all parties to compel them to launch such a transition within a period of no more than six months, so that millions of displaced people can safely and stably return to their homes.