Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 6 July 2020

At least 40 killed in air strikes in north-west Syria

Family of eight, including six children, killed in village near Aleppo

Members of the Syrian Civil Defence, known as the White Helmets, fight a fire following a reported airstrike on the village of Kafr Nuran, in the western countryside of Aleppo province on Tuesday. AFP
Members of the Syrian Civil Defence, known as the White Helmets, fight a fire following a reported airstrike on the village of Kafr Nuran, in the western countryside of Aleppo province on Tuesday. AFP

At least 40 people were killed in north-west Syria on Tuesday in a major regime assault on rebel groups and residents, a war monitor said.

A family of eight, including six children, were killed in the rural village of Kfar Taal west of government-controlled Aleppo, while another nine civilians were killed in Maardabseh in the south-east of Idlib province.

"God take revenge on all tyrants. There is no one else left in my family, they are all gone," Abu Yasser, 71, a relative of the family wiped out in Kfar Taal, told Reuters.

At least 22 other civilians were killed in other strikes by Russian and Syrian government warplanes on rural opposition areas that have been hit hard since the military campaign, supplemented by Iranian militias, began in December.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict, said Russian air forces carried out 69 strikes on targets in Idlib province and Aleppo.

The aerial bombings, supported by artillery fire and Russian special forces units pushing into rebel-held territory, has left dozens of towns in ruins and knocked down hospitals and schools, rescuers and aid agencies said.

United Nations officials said last week that a humanitarian crisis in the Idlib region, the last significant rebel stronghold in Syria after almost nine years of civil war, had worsened, with at least 350,000 civilians now on the run.

Another half a million people fled earlier bouts of fighting to the safety of camps near the border with Turkey, which backs some rebel factions in the north-west.

A ceasefire brokered between Turkey and Russia to end the latest offensive collapsed nearly 10 days ago when Moscow resumed heavy strikes on civilian areas in what residents said was a strategy of bringing the armed opposition to its knees by striking its popular base.

The latest offensive has brought President Bashar Al Assad's military campaign closer to heavily populated central areas of Idlib, where UN agencies say nearly three million people are trapped. The Observatory said almost 1,500 civilians, including 388 children, have been killed in the offensive.

Moscow and Damascus deny accusations of indiscriminate bombing of civilians, saying they are fighting extremists who have stepped up their attacks on civilians in Aleppo.

Syrian state television said two women and a child were killed in a rocket attack by "terrorists" — its standard term for anti-Assad rebels — on a crowded neighbourhood of Aleppo.

Updated: January 22, 2020 02:29 PM

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