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This picture taken on March 14, 2019, shows destructions following an air strike in the city of Idlib, northwestern Syria. (AFP)

Regime shelling, Russian strikes kill eight children among 15 civilians in Syria’s Idlib: Monitor

BEIRUT

Syrian regime shelling and Russian air strikes killed at least 15 civilians on Wednesday in Idlib province, in the first such raids since a September truce deal, a monitor said.

At least eight of the casualties were children, White Helmet Syria Civil Defence added.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said around 60 people were also wounded in the air strikes that struck several areas in the northwestern province.

“Over the past 24 hours Russian aircraft have carried out dozens of raids targeting several regions in Idlib province, including the city of Idlib and the town of Saraqeb,” SOHR head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

“These are the first Russian air strikes against the province” since an accord struck by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in September last year.

In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a demilitarised zone after a meeting between Erdogan and Putin, in Sochi, Russia.

Ankara and Moscow signed a memorandum of understanding calling for the stabilisation of the situation in Idlib’s de-escalation zone, in which acts of aggression are prohibited.

Idlib has been in the hands of rebels for years, even as Assad’s regime has taken back other rebel enclaves.

The province is now home to some three million people, many of them displaced from other areas held by rebels or the opposition.

(AFP)

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