January 6, 2017
The towns and villages of the Lajat area in rural Dara’a have come under intense artillery bombardment by regime forces and their allied militias, resulting in dozens of casualties, including civilians. Regime forces and their allies have imposed a blockade on the nearby town of Mahja amid fears of attempts to storm the town, home to around 30,000 people.
According to reports coming from Lajat area, regime forces stationed in the Artillery Regiment near the town of Izraa’ as well as in the town of Jabab and at Majbal checkpoint have rained dozens of artillery shells on the villages of Mujeidl, Hamir, Qirata, Qum Alrumman, Jadal, Jinin, Alzabaiyer, and Balana. The bombardment forced many civilian to flee their homes.
The Syrian Coalition condemns the continued violations of the ceasefire agreement by regime forces and their allied-foreign militias as it calls on guarantors of the agreement to assume their responsibilities. The Coalition warns of the consequences of the assault on Lajat area which is home to around 80,000 civilians, many of them were displaced from other areas. In addition to the regime assault, residents of the area have long been fighting the ISIS extremist group which have been attacking the area from more than one side.
The Coalition warns that all ceasefire violations committed by the Assad regime and its allies are of purely offensive nature, which reveals their real intention to exploit the ceasefire to seize territory and continue the killing, displacement and siege.
The lives of tens of thousands of civilians in Lajat area are under serious threat. The international community bears responsibility for the safety of those civilians especially amid fears of escalating indiscriminate artillery shelling and the regime’s use of internationally banned weapons to avoid close fighting in the rugged terrain of Lajat area.