Russian, regime strikes kill eight civilians in NW Syria: monitor
Air strikes by the Syrian regime and its ally Russia killed eight civilians in an embattled anti-government bastion in northwestern Syria Wednesday, a Britain-based war monitor said.
A Russian strike killed seven civilians and wounded at least 20 others in an attack in the village of Al-Sahaara in the jihadist-run enclave of Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
At the site, an AFP correspondent saw a rescue worker carry the limp body of a tiny girl away from the rubble, her clothes blanketed in fine dust.
Bright red blood had gathered around her throat and, under a crop of dusty hair, her eyes were closed.
Another emergency worker stood with a body bag at his feet, as colleagues in white hard hats sprayed water onto a building partially pummelled to grey rubble.
Another civilian was later killed in a regime strike in the town of Jisr al-Shughur in the west of Idlib province, the Observatory said.
Less than 30 kilometres away in the regime-held city of Aleppo, one civilian died and another was wounded in artillery fire by “terrorist groups”, state news agency SANA reported, using the regime’s term for all armed opposition groups.
Wednesday’s Russian strike was the second of its kind in less than a week, the Observatory said, after a Russian raid on the village of Jabala on Saturday killed six civilians, including one child.
The monitor, which relies on sources inside Syria, says it determines who carries out an air strike according to flight patterns, as well as aircraft and the munitions involved.
The Idlib region, which is home to some three million people including many displaced by Syria’s eight-year civil war, is controlled by the country’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces launched a blistering military campaign against Idlib in April, killing around 1,000 civilians and displacing more than 400,000 people from their homes.
A ceasefire announced by the regime’s major backer Moscow has largely held since late August, although the Observatory says skirmishes have persisted.
Assad last month said Idlib was the main front standing in the way of an end to the civil war, as his forces made a partial comeback in northeast Syria to stave off a Turkish offensive against Kurdish fighters there.
The Damascus regime had gained back large swathes of Syria from rebels and jihadists in the past four years since Moscow intervened militarily by its side.
Syria’s war has killed 370,000 people and displaced millions from their homes since beginning in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-Assad protests.