At least 7 killed in Idlib as Turkey urges Russia to broker a ceasefire
Syrian air strikes on a militant-held enclave in northwest Syria have killed at least seven civilians, a UK-based war monitor said, as the death toll amid a wave of government attacks continues to mount.
The bombings on Thursday killed five civilians in the town of Maaret al-Numan on the western edge of Idlib province, said Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, as reported by AFP.
A photographer with the news agency reported that air strikes hit a residential area, collapsing a building and killing some of those inside.
The body of a victim could be seen still in bed as rescue workers struggled to reach survivors trapped under the rubble, the AFP photographer said.
Russia and Turkey brokered a ceasefire deal in September to avert a government assault on Idlib that threatened to spark the worst humanitarian disaster of the eight-year war.
On Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that the ceasefire must be implemented to prevent more civilian deaths and an influx of refugees to Turkey, a statement from Erdogan’s office said.
Erdogan told Putin over the phone that Syria needed a political solution, the statement added, as cited by Reuters news agency.
The Syrian government and its ally Russia have pummelled Idlib province and nearby areas over the past month.
The bombardments have killed 229 civilians, wounded 727 others and forced more than 300,000 people to flee since 28 April, according to the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations (UOSSM), which provides assistance to health facilities.
Idlib province, as well as some surrounding areas, is mostly under the control of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a group dominated by former members of al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate.
Two weeks ago, the World Health Organisation said that at least 18 different health facilities in Idlib had been attacked.
Despite the surge in violence, the Syrian government has not announced an all-out offensive to retake the entire enclave. The conflict in Syria has killed more than 370,000 people since it started in 2011.