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21 civilians, including 8 kids, killed in bombardment of Syria’s Idlib

Regime and Russian airstrikes target rebel positions in last province still resisting government control

People look at the damage in the aftermath of an explosion in a rebel-held area of the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib on January 8, 2018. (AFP Photo/Omar Haj Kadour)
People look at the damage in the aftermath of an explosion in a rebel-held area of the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib on January 8, 2018. (AFP Photo/Omar Haj Kadour)

Airstrikes by regime and Russian aircraft on rebel positions in the northwestern province of Idlib killed at least 21 civilians, including eight children, a monitor said Monday.

The strikes carried out on Sunday were the latest against jihadists and rebels in a week-old regime offensive on Idlib, the last province in Syria to escape government control.

The raid left “at least 21 dead, including eight children and 11 members of the same family” west of the town of Sinjar in the southeast of the province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“Regime and Russian strikes are continuing today on several parts of Idlib” province, Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based monitoring organization, told AFP.

The area has seen intense clashes following a regime offensive aimed at seizing a strategically vital highway between Damascus and second city Aleppo.

Syrian emergency personnel search for victims following an explosion in a rebel-held area of the northwestern city of Idlib on January 7, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Zein Al RIFAI)

The Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a network of activists across Syria, said regime forces had seized more than 60 villages in the area since December 25.

An alliance dominated by Fateh al-Sham controls much of Idlib province where there are regular car bombings, often blamed on disputes between armed factions.

Some residents blame the Islamic State group for such attacks, although the group has no open presence in the province.

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