Air strikes kill at least 44 overnight in Syria's Idlib

Blanche Robertson
June 9, 2018

Air strikes believed to have been carried out by Russian Federation on a village in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province killed at least 44 people overnight, inflicting the highest death toll in a single attack on the region this year, a monitoring group said on Friday. It added that the dead included three of its members, who were killed as they evacuated the dead and wounded. The Observatory said the number could rise, as some victims were still under rubble and some of the wounded were in critical condition.

According to reports on social media which could not be verified, the strikes were carried out around the time residents praying at a local mosque said to have been destroyed in the attack.

An AFP correspondent at the scene saw volunteers and a crane continue to search the rubble for bodies in the early morning.

Zardana is largely controlled by Islamist rebels, with a small presence of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham alliance led by Syria's former al-Qaeda affiliate.

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Half a dozen men in civilian clothes helped carry a person in a black body bag away from the site of the strikes, which pulverised several buildings.

Syrian government forces oversee the evacuation of rebel fighters and their families for the rebel-held Idlib province in March.

Since Russia intervened in its support in 2015, the government has regained control of around half of the country, driving back rebels.

The Observatory said the airstrike was carried out by Russian warplanes and is so far the deadliest in Idlib province this year.

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