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White Helmets rescue centre bombed as Idlib assault continues Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

White Helmets rescue centre bombed as Idlib assault continues

White Helmets workers and centres have been targeted throughout the war [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 May, 2019

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A White Helmets rescue centre has been destroyed as a Russian-led blitz of Syria's Idlib continues.
Another White Helmets rescue centre was hit in airstrikes in Idlib late Monday, as a blitzkrieg on the Syrian province continues.

The civil rescue team said its station in the town of Kafranbel - known for its strong activist presence - was destroyed after being hit by two suspected Russian airstrikes, as part of a two-week air and ground assault on Idlib.

"The Civil Defence centre in Kafranbel city has been put completely out of service after two Russian airstrikes, causing serious damage to vehicles and equipments," the White Helmets said on Twitter on Monday, using the official name of the organisation.

"No casualties among our volunteers who were out responding to one of the targeted areas by explosive barrels."

The group shared videos showing Monday's air strikes in Kafranbel, which has put the rescue centre out of service.

"The moments of a second Russian attack on the Civil Defence Centre in Kafranbel City. Nothing or no one is immune to the Regime's massacres - not humanitarian centres, not hospitals and certainly not innocent people. No one was injured in this double attack," the group added.

Russian and regime forces have launched a punishing two-week assault on Idlib, the last Syrian province under opposition control.

Dozens of hospitals, schools, rescue centres and homes have been destroyed in the airstrikes and shelling, with activists accusing Moscow and Damascus of deliberately targeting civilian infrastructure.

Obada Zekrah, a member of the White Helmets - a civil rescue team - said that despite the destruction of the centres the first responders will continue their vital work in Idlib.

"After each attack, and whenever somebody needs help, we will be there, always, to provide our services to all civilians."

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported more than a thousand incidents of shelling and airstrikes in Idlib and Hama on Monday, which included the use of devastating barrel bombs, killing at least four civilians.

The assault has forced more than 150,000 civilians from their homes in Idlib and Hama, as the bombardment of opposition towns and villages continues.

Regime forces have also launched a ground offensive in the area, taking control of a number of villages after fighting with the hardline Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and Jaish al-Ezzah rebel groups.

Idlib is covered a major regime offensive in September when Turkey and Russia agreed to create demilitarised zones in northern Syria.

Attacks on these areas have continued, with 1,124 people killed including 492 civilians, according to the observatory. 

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