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Syrian regime airstrikes kill dozens in Idlib markets

Watch now: Regime airstrikes hit two markets in Nusra-held areas [AFP]

Date of publication: 19 April, 2016

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Video: Airstrikes hit two markets in northwest Syria on Tuesday killing 44 civilians, including at least three children, with the death toll expected to rise, according to the Syrian Observatory.
At least 44 civilians - including three children - were killed and dozens of others were wounded when airstrikes hit two markets in areas held by the Nusra Front in northwestern Syria on Tuesday.

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights referred to the incidents as "massacres" on both a food market in Maaret al-Numan, where 37 civilians were killed, and a fish market nearby Kafranbel, where at least seven were killed.

Dozens more were wounded, according to the UK-based monitor, which said the casualities included women and children. Graphic photos circulating on social media appeared to confirm the reports.

"The death toll is expected to rise because there are some people in critical conditions and there are reports of more casualties," the Observatory said.

Both locations fall within the Idlib province and are only 10km [six miles] apart.

The US-Russia brokered ceasefire deal that came into effect in February excludes areas controlled by the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda's local franchise.

The truce has been strained by increased fighting around second city Aleppo, and in other areas of Syria, where both the regime and its opponents have accused each other of a string of breaches.

In Damascus province, at least seven people were killed and 10 wounded in strikes on Bala, in the rebel-stronghold region of eastern Ghouta, the monitor said.

Meanwhile, fighting continued between rebels and regime forces in Latakia province, an Assad stronghold, after an alliance of opposition armed groups launched a joint offensive over the regime's "truce violations".

Syria's main opposition group said on Monday it was suspending its participation in UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva over what it said was the government's repeated "violations" of the truce.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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