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'Over 150 killed' in week of deadly Idlib bombing campaign

Syria's six-year war has seen 500,000 people killed. [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 September, 2017

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Russian and Syrian regime airstrikes have killed more than 150 civilians and injured dozens more in over a week of heavy bombings in the opposition-held Idlib province, rescue workers say.
Russian and Syrian regime airstrikes have killed more than 150 civilians and injured dozens more in over a week of heavy bombings in the opposition-held Idlib province, rescue workers say.
recent offensive by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) rebel fighters in Hama has led to Russia and the Syrian regime launch "revenge" airstrikes on Idlib, which is mostly controlled by the al-Qaeda linked force.

"We have pulled 152 bodies and we have rescued 279 civilians since the Russian and regime bombing campaign," Salem Abu al Azem, a senior rescue worker from the opposition-run Civil Defence in Idlib, said, according to Reuters.

Bodies were still being pulled from the rubble of flattened buildings, he added.

Civil defence officials and aid workers say at least six hospitals, five defence centres, and several power stations were destroyed in the first few days of the airstrikes.
Camps for internally displaced civilians were also hit.

Russia's defence ministry says it is targeting hard-line Islamist militants and denies accusations that it has struck civilian infrastructure and medical centres to force rebels into local truces.

Thousands of civilians have fled from towns such as Jisr al Shqour and Jabal al Zawya to rural areas less exposed to daily bombing, aid workers say.

The United Nations on Thursday condemned the airstrikes on five hospitals and humanitarian warehouses in Idlib, calling for a system to protect civilians and medical facilities near armed groups.

"We urgently need a workable and respected system of notification for these protected localities that armed actors will respect," Jan Egeland, the UN's humanitarian adviser on Syria, told reporters.

He said it was not clear who carried out the attacks, but said it was part of a trend to attack "humanitarian lifelines" including hospitals, ambulances and health workers.

The Russian and Syrian bombing campaign comes shortly after Syrian regime allies Russia and Iran agreed with opposition backer Turkey to jointly police a "de-escalation" zone in Syria's Idlib province.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Turkish troops will deploy inside Syria's northern Idlib region as part of the agreement, while Russia would maintain security outside the province.

The Idlib zone is the fourth such area to be agreed among Turkey, Russia, and Iran, and was widely expected to be the most complex zone to establish.

Much of it is held by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an alliance of fighters dominated by Al-Qaeda's former Syrian affiliate.

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