On January 7, 2024, Syrian regime artillery forces fired two shells at Sarmin city in eastern rural Idlib governorate. The shells struck the popular market in the city center near the Sarmin High School for Girls and the ancient Grand ‘al-Kabir’ Mosque, injuring five civilians, including two children, as well as damaging and partially destroying the market and the mosque. The area is under the control of armed opposition factions and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) notes that through this attack, Syrian regime forces have again unequivocally violated UN 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, to drive them from their lands and homes, and to forcibly displace them. An estimated 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 have a safe and stable return.