At least 22 civilians, including several children, have been killed in northwest Syria as Russian and government forces launched a series of air raids, according to volunteer medics who operate in rebel-held areas.
The Syrian Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, said the attacks on Tuesday targeted a dozen towns and villages in Maaret al-Numaan district, Idlib province, causing civilians to flee en masse towards internally displaced people (IDP) camps near the Turkish border.
Ahmed Sheikho, a spokesperson for the Civil Defence said nine people were killed in the town of Tal Mannis, six were killed in Bidama and five others were killed in Maasaran. One person was killed in al-Kanayes, while another person was killed in Maar Shamshah, he added.
Among those who lost their lives in Bidama were a White Helmets volunteer’s wife and three children, Sheikho said.
A market in the rural town of Maasaran was also bombed, according to Sheikho, who said that dozens of people were wounded across the region in the attacks and that rescue operations were ongoing on Tuesday evening.
Russian and regime warplanes continue their mission to kill civilians in #Idlib. 12 people have been killed this morning so far, 6 of them from artillery shelling of a home in #Badama Town and other victims of airstrikes targeting those attempting to flee the bombings. pic.twitter.com/eGHK9WeiK5
— The White Helmets (@SyriaCivilDef) December 17, 2019
The war in Syria has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions since it erupted in 2011 with the repression of anti-government protests.