Syria: Dozens killed in new airstrikes on rebel-held Idlib province

At least 26 people were killed in suspected Russian and Syrian air strikes in several districts in rebel-held Idlib province on Thursday, Civil Defence and a monitoring group said.

The attacks came as Assad regime forces and Russian jets intensified their bombardment of Idlib, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Idlib is a stronghold for the rebel forces and one of the few large areas still under rebel control in the west of the country. Rebels and their families who have chosen to leave areas under government siege around Damascus in evacuation deals have headed for Idlib.

“19 people were killed today. Khan Sheikhoun, Maaret al-Numaan, Jisr al-Shughour and other areas were targeted by suspected Russian and Syrian air strikes since the morning,” Hamid of the Civil Defence said on Thursday.

“In the suburbs of Maaret al-Numaan, al-Jamea hospital was hit,” he added.

The Syrian Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, is a volunteer rescue group that operates mostly in rebel-held territory in Syria.

Idlib’s health directorate reported that the strike on al-Jamea hospital killed at least three patients and injured four others.

The Observatory also reported that suspected Russian air strikes targeted Idlib and killed at least 16 people, including seven children.

The SOHR also said many of those killed in the attack were medical volunteers.

Syrian government helicopters dropped barrel bombs just outside the town of Khan Sheikhoun, the SOHR added.

Separate air strikes southwest of Kafr Takharim killed at least 14 people including civilians and rebel fighters, the Observatory said.

A spokesman at the hospital in Kafr Takharim in Idlib said an air strike hit its courtyard killing 14 people, including patients.

The United Nations condemned the recent air strikes by Assad regime and called for an end to such attacks on hospitals.

“It is completely unacceptable that facilities and people who are trying to save lives are being bombed,” said Kevin Kennedy, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis.

“It must stop,” he added.

In its latest report, the SOHR said at least 10,915 civilians, including 2,393 children, were killed in government air strikes and barrel bombs dropped by helicopters in the past 30 months.

In addition to that, 64,000 others were injured in these attacks.

The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.