Russian raids on Syria hospital, mosque kill 60 civilians
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Russian raids on Syria hospital, mosque kill 60 civilians

Airstrikes on Al-Nusra-held Idlib said to be ‘the most intensive’ in months

Residents gather around the body of Mohammed Halak, killed during fighting between Free Syrian Army fighters and the Syrian Army in Idlib, north Syria (photo credit: AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
Residents gather around the body of Mohammed Halak, killed during fighting between Free Syrian Army fighters and the Syrian Army in Idlib, north Syria (photo credit: AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Turkey said Tuesday that heavy air raids carried out by Russian forces on a hospital and a mosque in the Syrian city of Idlib, a provincial capital held by al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front and its allies, resulted in 60 dead and some 200 injured, Reuters reported.

Al-Nusra is not party to a Russia- and US-brokered ceasefire that went into force on February 27 between Moscow-backed government forces and Washington-backed non-jihadist rebels.

“The airstrikes are the most intensive on Idlib since the beginning of the truce,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

“Even though Idlib is not covered by the truce, it had been relatively calm with only intermittent raids,” he added.

At least five children were among those killed in the strikes, which hit several residential areas and near a hospital and a public garden, according to the Observatory.

Footage, posted on social media by the civil defense group known as the White Helmets, showed rescuers holding the limp, dust-covered body of a small boy who was among the dead.

An AFP photographer saw medical staff helping crying children at a nearby clinic.

Moscow has been carrying out an air campaign in support of its Damascus ally since September last year.

It has been criticized for targeting non-jihadist rebels as well as Al-Qaeda and its rival the Islamic State group.

Moscow has called for other rebel groups to withdraw from areas controlled by Al-Nusra and break ranks with the jihadists.

More than 280,000 people have been killed in Syria since the civil war erupted in 2011.

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