Russian airstrikes kill 20 civilians in Syria’s Idlib

Burak Karacaoglu and Esref Musa

IDLIB: Russian airstrikes have killed at least 20 civilians in the opposition-held Saraqib district of Syria’s Idlib province, according to local sources.

Mustafa Haj Yusuf, director of the White Helmets civil-defense agency, told Anadolu Agency that at least 16 children had been among the casualties.

According to opposition sources, Russian warplanes took off from the Khmeimim Airbase in Syria’s Latakia province, from which they conducted several airstrikes in and around the Saraqib district.

Late on Tuesday, at least 59 civilians were killed by the Assad regime and its supporters in the besieged East-ern Ghouta region, Syrian Civil Defense sources said.

Regime ground and air assaults on civilians continued in the opposition-held area near the capital Damascus despite separate UN and Russia cease-fires.

Sources from Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, said that 59 civilians were killed in bombardments, including three civilians in the town of Harasta and 56 others in the Duma district.

The officials said more casualties are feared as some areas are unreachable due to the intense attacks.

At least 150 civilians have been killed by regime attacks in the last five days.

Within the last 11 days alone, at least 56 people have been killed by airstrikes in opposition-held parts of Idlib and Hama provinces.

Since Feb. 19, nearly 1,000 people have been killed in Eastern Ghouta, and the death toll is expected to rise further as attacks by the regime remain ongoing.

Syria remains locked in a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity. According to UN officials, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict. (AA)