48 members of the same family killed by Russian Air Strike

A suspected Russian air strike on a home in the countryside near the central city of Homs has killed 48 people from a single family, says Syrian activists. The bomb shelter where the family was hiding was hit by a rocket in the western city.

Russian has been launching air strikes in the area in addition to various other regions in Syria. In a statement on Saturday, the Russian military said its air force made 36 sorties, hitting 49 Islamic State group targets in Syria in the last 24 hours. The targets were hit in Hama, Idlib, Latakia, Damascus, and Aleppo regions, the statement said.

In another development on Saturday, Syrian government forces edged forward in the northern province of Aleppo with air cover from Russian warplanes, but faced fierce resistance from rebel forces in the country’s centre.

Since Moscow began its air campaign on September 30, the army and its allies have launched four ground offensives against rebel forces in northern and central Syria.

Syrian troops have gone on the attack in Aleppo, Hama, Homs and Latakia provinces, taking advantage of Russian air strikes against al­Nusra Front, an al­Qaeda affiliate, and other rebel groups. Control of Aleppo has been divided since mid­2012, with government forces controlling the western part of the city while much of the surrounding province is held by rebel groups, ranging from Nusra and others in the west to the Islamic State in the east.