Shelling Kills Nine in Syria's Idlib Despite Agreed Buffer Zone

Three children and two women died in the attack, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says of the incident

FILE Photo: Fighters with the Free Syrian army in the outskirts of the northern town of Jisr al-Shughur, Syria, west of the city of Idlib, September 9, 2018.

Government shelling killed nine people, three of them children and two women on Saturday in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province, where Russia and Turkey agreed on a buffer zone, a monitoring group said. 

The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said shells hit Jarjanaz village which lies on the inner edge of the 15-20 km (9-13 mile) deep zone. 

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The deal to create the demilitarized zone, running along the contact line between insurgent and government territory, staved off an army offensive against Idlib. 

Intermittent exchanges of fire have broken out in northwest Syria since the agreement between Russia, a key Damascus ally, and Turkey, which backs some rebel factions. 

The United Nations says nearly 3 million people live in the northwest region and has warned against a battle to restore state rule there. 

Among an array of factions controlling Idlib, the dominant force is Tahrir al-Sham, an Islamist alliance led by fighters formerly linked to Al-Qaida

Earlier this month, Moscow accused insurgents of trying to wreck the deal, while rebels accused the Syrian army and its allies of attacking the region.