The U.N.’s human rights chief said Tuesday she is concerned about the condition of some 200 families trapped in the last remaining area held by the Islamic State group in eastern Syria, where they are mixed with hundreds of militants.
In Idlib, government forces shelled a bakery killing at least four people, including children, in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib, a war monitor said.
Michelle Bachelet said in a statement that the extremists are actively preventing civilians, including women and children, from leaving the tiny area near the border with Iraq, which is currently besieged by U.S.-backed Syrian fighters.
Some 300 militants are mixed in with hundreds of civilians and are refusing to surrender while trying to negotiate an exit with the U.S.-backed forces surrounding them.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said some 50 trucks entered the IS-held area, apparently to bring out some of the people trapped inside.
The Observatory had earlier reported that a request by IS to be evacuated to neighboring Iraq was rejected by the SDF.
Bachelet also expressed concerns over recent violence in the northwestern province of Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold in the country, calling on all parties involved to ensure that the protection of civilians is held paramount in the planning and execution of all military operations in accordance with international law.