Russian airstrikes kill three children ahead of Syria ceasefire

Russian airstrikes kill three children ahead of Syria ceasefire
Only hours before a ceasefire is expected to begin, Russian warplanes have been carrying out intense airstrikes on rebel strongholds in Syria, killing eight civilians from one family.
2 min read
26 February, 2016
Moscow's warplanes targeted the Qabtan al-Jabal area of Aleppo province on Thursday night [Getty]

Russian jets carried out intensive air raids on rebel strongholds in Syria on Friday, hours before a ceasefire is due to come into force.

Airstrikes in the "non-extremist", rebel-held Qabtan al-Jabal area of Aleppo province killed eight members of the same family - including three children - on Thursday night.

"From last night to this morning there have been Russian strikes that are more intense than usual on rebel bastions including on Eastern Ghouta east of Damascus, in the north of Homs province and in the west of Aleppo province," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said.

"It's more intense than usual. It's as if they [the Russians and the regime] want to subdue rebels in these regions or score points before the ceasefire," Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The partial ceasefire between regime forces and non-extremist rebel fighters is due to come into force at midnight Friday (2200GMT) Damascus time.

The Islamic State [IS] group and the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front are not included, leading to fears that other armed groups and civilians will still be targeted, with Damascus and Moscow using the ongoing fight against "terrorist groups" as political cover.

[Emad Hajjaj/The New Arab]

"There were at least 25 airstrikes on Eastern Ghouta," a main rebel bastion where the predominant opposition faction is the Jaish al-Islam movement, Abdel Rahman said.

"At least 10 of those hit Douma," said the UK-based monitor, which relies of a wide network of sources in Syria.

"At the same time, regime forces have violently shelled the city," Abdel Rahman added.

Russian airstrikes also hit the Daret Ezza area in western Aleppo province and Talbisseh city in Homs province.

Agencies contributed to this report