Syria conflict: Russian air strikes kill dozens in Idlib

May 31, 2016, 6:46 AM EDT
Destruction in Syria
(Source: Foreign and Commonwealth Office/flickr)

Russia carried out a series of air strikes in the rebel-held city of Idlib in north-western Syria, leaving at least 23 people dead, including 7 children. The assault, dubbed as the most intensive since the truce began, comes within five days after Moscow said it was suspending strikes on Syrian rebels.

Nusra Front, which is affiliated to al-Qaeda, dominates the city of Idlib, writes the BBC. The group is not a part of the U.S. and Russia- brokered cessation of hostilities arrangement agreed by the Syrian government and rebel forces.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the overnight raids targeted multiple sites, with one of them being next to a hospital, notes Reuters. Activists believe that the number of fatalities may rise as rescue operation progresses.

As rebels enter into battlefield alliance with al-Nusra, the implementation of truce has “complicated”, especially around the northern city of Aleppo, said the United States, reports Al Jazeera. The rebels have been accusing Russia of targeting their defense lines with a temporary truce still in effect.

For over five years, Syria has been ravaged by a multi-sided civil war that has claimed lives of more than 250,000 people while driving out half of the country’s population.