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Airstrikes kill dozens of civilians in residential town in Syria

Russia has been carrying out air strikes in support of Assad's regime since 2015 [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 20 December, 2017

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Overnight airstrikes kill 19 civilians, including seven children, in a residential district of a town in Idlib, the Syrian Observatory reported on Wednesday.
At least 19 civilians, including seven children, were killed in a series of overnight airstrikes that hit a residential district of a town in northwestern Syria, a monitor reported on Wednesday.

"Suspected Russian airstrikes targeted several houses in Maarshurin," a rebel-held town in Idlib province, said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 

Thirteen members of the same family were among the dead, Abdel Rahman added.

More than 25 people were injured by the shelling, the Observatory said, adding that some were in critical condition.

Residents of the town were working on Wednesday morning to clear the rubble from buildings hit by the bombardment, AFP reported.

One had been completely flattened and blood stained the rubble. 

"These are all civilian homes," resident Zahed Abu Abdo told AFP.

It was not clear whether the airstrikes were carried out by Syrian regime warplanes or Russian aircraft.

Russia has been carrying out air raids in support of President Bashar al-Assad's regime since 2015.

Idlib province is one of four regions of Syria which are supposed to be safe areas under a deal agreed by Russia, fellow regime ally Iran, and rebel backer Turkey in May.

Maarshurin is jointly controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a rebel alliance dominated by al-Qaeda's former Syria affiliate, which is not covered by the deal.

The Syrian conflict began when the Baath regime, in power since 1963 and led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded with military force to peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings, triggering 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, and 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

Agencies contributed to this report

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