Syrian civilians are still reeling from shock after the Bashar al-Assad regime bombed a market in the northwestern province of Idlib.
On Wednesday, at least 13 civilians were killed and dozens others were wounded in shelling by the regime forces and the Iranian-backed groups in Ariha town which is within the de-escalation zone in northern Syria.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, shop-owner Mustafa Kreidi said he saw people dying all around him. He noted that the children of his neighbor died in the attack. Him and his children survived miraculously, he added.
He said the regime attacked a civilian area where no militants were present.
A poultry farmer, who did not want to be named, also confirmed there were no militants hiding in the town.
Weary of the incessant bombings, he said he is planning to move to a safer area near Turkey's border.
In May 2017, Turkey, Russia and Iran announced that they had reached an agreement to establish a de-escalation zone in Idlib, as part of the Astana meetings related to the Syrian crisis.
However, it was only after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed on March 5, 2020 to a new truce in Idlib to end hostilities and attacks on civilians that effective de-escalation took place, with the exception of sporadic shelling by regime forces.
*Writing by Ahmed Asmar in Ankara