Russian air strikes on Jabhat Al Nusra prison kill 39 people
BEIRUT // At least 39 people were killed in Russian air strikes on a prison complex run by Jabhat Al Nusra in north-west Syria on Saturday, a monitoring group said.
The strikes hit an Al Nusra building, which lies near a popular market in Maarat Al Numan in Idlib province, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The building housed the Al Qaeda affiliate’s religious court and a jail.
Most of those killed were rebels imprisoned by Al Nusra, while other victims included prison guards and Al Nusra fighters.
Among the dead were five civilians, including a child.
Russian warplanes have been conducting air strikes against ISIL and “other terrorist groups” in Syria since September 30.
Al Nusra and ISIL are fierce rivals – despite both being extremist organisations – and regularly clash in Syria.
The Al Qaeda affiliate also has tense relationships with non-extremist rebel groups that oppose its extreme interpretation of sharia.
In Idlib, Al Nusra has formed an alliance with rebel groups, including hardline faction Ahrar Al Sham.
The Army of Conquest coalition has expelled regime forces from Idlib province.
* Agence France-Presse
Updated: January 9, 2016 04:00 AM