Scott Lucas reports: Russia and the Assad regime have escalated already-intense bombing of northwest Syria, using incendiary munitions, two days after the US struck a regime airbase for the first time in the six-year conflict.
Russian and regime warplanes bombed at least 10 towns and villages across Idlib Province and northern Hama Province. Videos testified to the use of the incendiary material, such as thermite, to start large fires.
Khan Sheikhoun — the town in Idlib Province which was attacked by the regime with chemical weapons last Tuesday, killing more than 100 people and prompting Friday’s US response — was struck again. Contact was lost with residents in Saraqeb amid heavy attacks. Latamneh, bombed twice with chlorine in recent weeks, was targeted.
Sunday’s attacks continued the defiance of Washington after the US fired 59 Tomahawk missiles on the Shayrat airbase, from which the warplane carrying the chemical weapons — a hybrid of a nerve agent and chlorine — took off. On Saturday, the regime renewed strikes across Idlib Province, killing 19 people in the town of Urum al-Jouz alone and hitting Khan Sheikhoun. It also proclaimed loudly that flights from Shayrat had resumed.
A resident of Urum al-Jouz, noting that there are no military targets in the area, summarized, “There has been an undeniable escalation in this area and the Idlib countryside as a whole since the US airstrikes. If anything, they’ve made matters worse and have led Russia and the regime to increase their airstrikes.” [Continue reading…]