On January 22, 2024, Syrian regime forces used a rocket launcher to fire multiple rockets at Ariha city in southern rural Idlib governorate. The city center and outskirts were both targeted in two consecutive strikes (six rockets were fired in the first volley, and four in the second). The attacks injured six civilians, including four children and one woman, while one of the rockets struck and partially destroyed the perimeter fence of the Teqneyat al-Hasoub High School for Girls, although the nearby boys’ school located about 100 meters away sustained no damages. Another rocket landed just beside the main door of the Hananou School while students inside were sitting exams, moderately damaging the school’s fence, although no damages were recorded to the adjacent Izzdin al-Qassam School. Additionally, a rocket landed between al-Fateh Mosque and the Pediatric and Maternity Hospital, about 50 meters away from both facilities, with no damages recorded. The area is under the control of armed opposition factions and Hay’at al-Sham Front.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) notes that through this attack, regime forces have again unequivocally violated UN Security Council resolutions 2139 and 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 be ensured a safe and stable return.