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Deadly Assad air raids pound northern Syria Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Deadly Assad air raids pound northern Syria

Scores of civilians have been killed in the intensive air raids [Getty]

Date of publication: 1 February, 2018

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Over 20 civilians have been killed amid an escalating offensive against Syrian opposition territories by Russian-backed regime forces.

Syria regime air strikes on rebel-held territory in the country's north left over 20 civilians dead, a monitoring group reported Thursday.

The northern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib were pounded by aerial bombardment as Bashar al-Assad's forces continue their Russian-backed assault against opposition fighters.

Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads up the UK based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, said that regime raids "hit two villages in the south of Aleppo province, killing 15 civilians".

The observatory added that in the neighbouring province of Saraqeb in Idlib, regime air strikes had left five civilians dead.

Pro-Assad forces - backed by Russia - launched an offensive at the end of 2017 to capture Idlib province, the last remaining area still fully outside of the regime's control.

The northern province borders Turkey and is home to an estimated two million Syrians, including tens of thousands of civilians who fled recent fighting in neighbouring Hama.

Scores of civilians have been killed in the intensive air raids, while the rebels have lost ground with the regime capturing dozens of towns and villages. Regime forces, backed by Russian airstrikes, have captured nearly 100 villages from rebels since late October in Hama and Idlib provinces.

The main aim of regime forces is to reach the rebel-held Abu Zuhour airbase and secure the road linking the capital, Damascus, with the northern city of Aleppo.

Rebels captured Abu Zuhour in 2015 after a three-year siege.

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