Russian strike kills family of five in Syria’s northwest in bold violation of ceasefire

Russian strike kills family of five in Syria’s northwest in bold violation of ceasefire
Russia’s warplanes continue to bomb civilian targets despite a week-old ceasefire agreement, on Friday killing a family of five in their home in Bala, Aleppo province.
2 min read
18 January, 2020
A rescue worker finds children's toys in the family's home [Getty]
An air strike on Saturday by Russian forces in Syria killed a family of five, including three children, in the opposition bastion in the country's northwest, according to The New Arab’s Arabic-language service.

The strikes hit the village of Bala in Aleppo province soon after midnight on Friday, as Syrian regime backer Russia continues a brutal campaign of strikes on civilian targets across the province, despite having agreed a ceasefire with Turkey, which backs the Syrian opposition.

Saturday's strike left a massive crater of rubble near a two-storey home flanked by an empty outdoor swimming pool, an AFP reporter said, adding that a stuffed toy cockerel and two dead rabbits were found by rescue workers in the destroyed building.

Idlib has witnessed an uptick in violence this week, as the Syrian regime pushes forward a deadly offensive despite a ceasefire arranged by its Russian ally and rebel-backer Turkey.

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Home to three million people, nearly half of whom have been displaced more than once from other parts of the country, the bastion is largely run by militant group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), making up a large part of the Idlib province, as well as slivers of the neighbouring Aleppo and Latakia provinces.

Fighting there since Wednesday has killed 28 civilians including eight children, according to conflict monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

It also took the lives of 58 pro-regime fighters and 67 fighters most of them from HTS, it added.

Violence in recent weeks has prompted hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee their homes, exposing them to a harsh winter.

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On Thursday, Russia denied launching any combat operations in the region since the start of a ceasefire it said started on January 9. According to Turkey, the truce went into effect on Sunday.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he would discuss the latest attacks in northwestern Syria on Sunday with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Syria's war has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced more than half the country's population since starting in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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