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Syrian regime airstrike on Idlib market kills children

An airstrike in Idlib killed 11 civilians on Sunday [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 October, 2017

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At least 11 civilians, including two children, were killed in Syrian regime airstrikes on a market in Idlib province's Maaret al-Numan

Almost a dozen civilians, including two children, were killed on Sunday following regime air raids on a marketplace in north-western Syria, a monitor has said.

At least 11 were killed when bombs hit one of rebel-held Idlib province's busiest markets inn the city of Maaret al-Numan, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The monitor believes they may have been carried out by regime forces.

Observatory head, UK based Syrian Rami Abdel Rahman, said a "military aircraft" had targeted the market in Maaret al-Numan, blaming the Assad regime, notorious for its  targeting of civilians and civilian areas in air strikes.

"At least 11 people were killed, including two children," he said. "There are around 20 wounded and the toll of victims could rise."

Much of Idlib province, including Maaret al-Numan, is controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a group led by al-Qaeda's former Syria affiliate.

Idlib is one of four so-called "de-escalation" zones under a deal brokered by Moscow, Ankara and Tehran in May.

HTS is not party to the de-escalation agreement, although Idlib province should come under the safe zone plan.

The Observatory said that on Friday and Saturday, at least 13 civilians died in air strikes, suspected to be carried out by the regime around Khan Sheikhoun, the site of the regime's deadly chemical attack in April.

Despite months of relative calm in Idlib, the Assad regime - along with Russian forces - have heavily bombed the province, killing scores of civilians, according to the Observatory.

Pro-Turkey Syrian rebels are also preparing for an operation to oust HTS from Idlib province.

The Syrian conflict began when the Baath regime - in power since 1963 and led now by President Bashar al-Assad - responded with military force to quell peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms in 2011. The violence triggered an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army.

According to independent monitors, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies. Millions have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria.

The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians have led to war crimes investigations.

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