Smoke plumes following reported airstrikes on the town of Khan Sheikhun in the southern countryside of the rebel-held Idlib province on June 3, 2019. Image Credit: AFP

Maarat Al Numan - Bombardments by the Syrian regime killed six civilians in northwest Syria Monday, hours after US President Donald Trump urged Damascus and its allies to “stop bombing the hell” out of the extremist-held region.

Trump’s call came after Washington’s Israeli ally carried out a series of strikes against Syria over the weekend, leaving at least 15 dead among pro-regime forces, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The bombardment by Damascus and regime ally Russia of Idlib province and neighbouring areas has killed more than 300 people and displaced thousands since late April, according to the Britain-based war monitor.

The violence, which comes despite a truce deal brokered by Moscow and Ankara in September, has raised fears of a humanitarian catastrophe on a scale yet unseen in Syria’s eight-year conflict, which has already claimed more than 400,000 lives.

The Kremlin insisted Monday that the Russian army was only targeting “terrorists” in Syria’s Idlib region, which is controlled by Hayat Tahrir Al Sham, a group dominated by former members of Al Qaida’s Syria affiliate.

The comments came in response to a Tweet by Trump on Sunday calling for an end to the bombing on the enclave, a large area which is home to almost three million people.

“Hearing word that Russia, Syria and, to a lesser extent, Iran, are bombing the hell out of Idlib Province in Syria, and indiscriminately killing many innocent civilians.

“The World is watching this butchery. What is the purpose, what will it get you? STOP!” the US president said.

But, the aerial bombardment on Monday did not relent.

Israeli strikes

The latest violence in Idlib comes amid soaring tensions between Syria and neighbouring Israel.

Syria accused Israel of targeting an airbase in Homs province overnight, reportedly killing five people, just hours after carrying out raids on military and intelligence posts south of Damascus that killed 10.