Death toll from Russian-led Idlib assault is over 500

Death toll from Russian-led Idlib assault is over 500
2 min read
07 July, 2019
Over 500 civilians have been killed, more than one fifth of them children, in Russian and regime airstrikes on Idlib.
The Syrian Civil Defence search in a collapsed building following air strikes [AFP/Getty]
The death toll of the Russian-led assault on northwestern Syria that began two months ago has mounted to at least 544 civilians, a rights group said Saturday.

In another set of punishing airstrikes, Idlib province saw seven civilians killed in suspected Russian bombardments on the same day the Syrian Network for Human Right (SNHR) released their findings.

Saturday's casualties included a woman hit by regime rocket fire on the outskirts of the town of Khan Sheikhoun in southern Idlib.

"The Russian military and its Syrian ally are deliberately targeting civilians with a record number of medical facilities bombed," Fadel Abdul Ghany, chairman of SNHR, told Reuters.

The right's groups revealed that of the 544 civilians killed, 130 were children. 

Idlib is covered by a demilitarised zone which should protect it from regime assaults following a September deal between Moscow and Ankara.

But the Russian-Syrian joint military operation has launched a punishing assault on the opposition province since April 26, killing more than 500 civilians and injuring over 2000.

Moscow and the Syrian army justify their assault by the presence of Al-Qaeda linked militants in the province.

The UN has said that 25 health facilities in the region have been hit in strikes.

The latest of these airstrikes hit an underground hospital in the town of Kafranbel on Thursday.

"The attacks happened despite the fact that the coordinates of this hospital had previously been shared with the parties to the conflict in a deliberate, carefully planned effort to prevent any attacks on it," a UN official said on Friday.

"I am horrified by the ongoing attacks on civilian areas and civilian infrastructure as the conflict in northwest Syria continues," said Mark Cutts, UN deputy regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syrian crisis.

The UN estimates that at least 300,000 people have been forced to leave their homes due to the airstrikes.

The opposition province of Idlib is home to around 3 million people, many of them refugees from other parts of Syria that have been retaken by the regime.

Syria's war, which started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government demonstrations, has killed more than 370,000 people and led to 12 million Syrians being displaced internally and around the world.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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