Suspected Russian strike on Idlib school kills 8, including 5 children

Suspected Russian strike on Idlib school kills 8, including 5 children
Opposition activists have blamed Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's main ally, for an attack on an Idlib school for displaced children on Tuesday.
2 min read
24 December, 2019
Idlib has been the target of a renewed Syrian regime assault [Getty]

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Tuesday said that missiles hit a school for displaced civillians in the village of Jubas, near the town of Saraqib south of Idlib, killing eight, including five children.

According to opposition activists, Syrian government troops have also besieged a Turkish observation post, but have not yet launched an attack.

The activists have blamed Russia - the main ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad in the war - for Tuesday's bombardment. The school building was used by people displaced by violence in other parts of the country, according to the Observatory.
Syrian forces launched a significant ground offensive last week into the province of Idlib, following weeks of airstikes that have displaced tens of thousands of people. 

Mohammed Hallaj, the director of Syrian Response Coordination, has said that some 80000 people have displaced from southern Idlib, which has been dominated by al-Qadia-affiliated militants. 

Over 40 villages and hamlets are now under government control, including Jarajanaz annd Al-Surman.  

According to figures recorded by the Syrian Civil Defence group, known as the White Helmets, 84 civillians, including 21 children, have been killed in the past week alone. At least 173 others who have been injured.

Syrian government troops have dedicated their to advancing onto the rebel-held town of Maaret al-Numan in southern Idlib, which sits on the strategic M5 highway that links the capital, Damascus, with the northern city of Allepo.

Read more: Syria Weekly: Syrians organise evacuation of besieged Maarat Al-Numan 

Activists say the regime is conducting a campaing of "extermination" there, targetting civilians who remain, with missiles and barrel bombs, and those fleeing, with machine fire and shelling.

The Observatory now believe that troops are 4 kilometres away from the town. Determined to open the highway, forces advancing from the east have surrounded the Turkish observation post near the village of Surman.

Since a de-escalation agreement was signed between Russian and Turkish forces in September last year, Turkey has had 12 observation posts in northwestern Syria, where Idlib is located. 

Yet during this time, Syrian and Russian government forces have killed more than 1500 civillians in the region. More than 1 million have been made refugees, according to international and local estimates.

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