Syria regime airstrikes on Idlib market kill 12 civilians

Syria regime airstrikes on Idlib market kill 12 civilians
2 min read
Airstrikes carried out on a market in northwestern Syria killed 12 people and wounded 18, a war monitor has said.
Warplanes struck the market at around midnight on Tuesday [AFP]
Syrian regime airstrikes killed 12 civilians in a market in Syria's Idlib province, a monitor said on Wednesday, as fierce fighting raged for the rebel-held northwestern region.

The White Helmets, officially-known as the Syrian Civil Defence, said the attacks were carried out by regime warplanes.

Another 18 people were wounded when the warplanes hit the rebel-held town of Maarat al-Numan around midnight (2100 GMT) on Tuesday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. 

The market was crowded with people out and about after breaking the daytime fast observed by Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan.

The strikes came as heavy clashes raged in the north of neighbouring Hama province after the jihadists launched a counterattack on Tuesday against pro-regime forces in the town of Kafr Nabuda.

Fresh fighting on Wednesday took the death toll to 52 - 29 troops and militia and 23 jihadists, the Observatory said.

It said that the jihadists had retaken most of the town from government forces who recaptured it on May 8. 

The rebel-dominated Idlib region is nominally protected by a buffer zone deal, but the regime and its Russian ally have escalated their bombardment of it in recent weeks, seizing several towns on its southern flank.

A jihadist alliance led by Syria's former al-Qaeda affiliate, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, controls a large part of Idlib province as well as adjacent slivers of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia provinces.

Russia and rebel ally Turkey inked the buffer zone deal in September to avert a government offensive on the region which threatened humanitarian disaster for its three million residents.

President Bashar al-Assad's regime has renewed its bombardment of the region since HTS took control in January.

Russia too has stepped up its airstrikes in recent weeks as Turkey proved unable to secure implementation of the truce deal by the rebels.

The Observatory says more than 180 civilians have been killed in the flare-up since April 30, and the United Nations has said tens of thousands have fled their homes. 

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