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Idlib bombing 'deadliest school attack' in Syria's war

UNICEF has described the attack as an "outrage" tantamount to "a war crime" [AFP]

Date of publication: 27 October, 2016

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Airstrikes targeting a school complex in the town of Hass, in Idlib province around noon on Wednesday may be the deadliest attack on a school since Syria’s conflict began.
The UN Children’s agency (UNICEF) said on Thursday that airstrikes targeting a school in Syria’s rebel-held, northern Idlib province early on Wednesday may be the deadliest attack on a school since Syria’s conflict began nearly six years ago.

Both first responders, the Syrian Civil Defence, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights have reported that 35 people were killed by the attack which struck a school complex in the village of Hass around midday on Wednesday as children gathered outside preparing to return home. Among the dead were 22 children.

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake has called the airstrikes an "outrage" tantamount to “a war crime."

The Syrian Civil Defence, or White Helmets, have said that the attack constituted a “double tap”. This occurs when a warplane carries out an initial bombing raid on a target, and then waits for either signs of survivors, or rescue workers to arrive, before executing a second, or more, consequent attacks.

"One rocket hit the entrance of the school as students were leaving to go home, after the school administration decided to end classes for the day because of the raids," said a local activist, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity.

Idlib province is controlled by the Army of Conquest, an alliance of rebel groups and extremists including the Fateh al-Sham Front, which changed its name from al-Nusra Front after breaking off ties with al-Qaeda earlier this year.

In the last week as Syrian and Russian airstrikes over Aleppo have temporarily calmed amid a Russian-proposed humanitarian “pause” in the city airstrikes on rebel positions have increased in Idlib as the Syrian regime seeks to stymie opposition gains in the province.

Seven days of airstrikes across the northwestern province had left more than 75 civilians dead and another 150 wounded, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 

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