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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russian strikes a kill 1 person, hit aid trucks in northwestern Syria: activists

Opposition activists claimed that Russian warplanes carried out the attacks [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 March, 2021

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Airstrikes in northwest Syria have killed at least one person and damaged aid equipment, according to opposition activists and a paramedic group.

Airstrikes on several locations in northwest Syria near the border with Turkey have killed at least one person and set afire several trucks used to distribute aid, opposition activists and a paramedic group said on Monday.

Opposition activists claimed that Russian warplanes carried out the attacks near the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey late Sunday, hours after government artillery shelling hit a major hospital in a rebel-controlled town in northwestern Syria.

Six patients, including a child, were killed. Medical staff were wounded, forcing the facility to shut its doors.

The Bab al-Hawa border crossing is a main point from which aid is brought to rebel-held parts of northwest Syria.

Idlib-based journalist Salwa Abdul-Rahman said one of the strikes hit an area near the town of Sarmada, setting afire trucks used by aid workers to distribute assistance.

"The targeted locations were civilian with no military presence," she said.

One person was killed in the strikes, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, and the opposition's Syrian Civil Defense, also known as White Helmets.

The White Helmets said that in addition to the trucks, the strikes targeted a cement factory. The truck fires were put under control hours later.

An Associated Press video from the area showed about a dozen trucks on fire as civil defense members sprayed them with water.

Turkey's defense ministry blamed Syrian government forces for the attack, saying it left several people wounded and that he asked Russia to secure an immediate end to the strikes, adding that Turkish troops had been placed on alert.

Turkey and Russia support rival parties in Syria's 10-year conflict.

The countries reached a deal last March that stopped a Russian-backed government offensive on the northwestern Idlib province, the last major rebel stronghold in war-torn Syria.

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