Russian airstrikes kill dozens in rebel-held Syrian city
At least 20 people were killed on Monday in airstrikes by the Syrian regime and Russia on the town of Maaret al-Numan in southern Idlib province in Syria.
A local media source told The New Arab that a Russian plane carried out four airstrikes on a market and residential areas in Maaret al-Numan, killing at least 20 people.
The source said that the death toll is likely to rise because some of the victims were still trapped under rubble and some of the injured from the strike were critically wounded.
Among the victims was a member of the Syrian Civil Defence, known as the White Helmets. Russian aircraft targeted the Civil Defence crews who came to rescue victims of the initial strikes, in what is known as a “double tap” airstrike.
On Sunday 17 people were killed in previous Russian and regime airstrikes, 12 of which in the village of Urum al-Joz.
Among Sunday’s victims were Anas Diab, a 22-year-old freelance journalist working for Turkey’s Anadolu News Agency, who was killed while reporting on Russian airstrikes on the city of Khan Sheikhoun.
Diab, born in 1997, had worked as an independent journalist since 2013 and had recently volunteered as a rescuer with the White Helmets.
Read more: No Food Until Crimes End – Syrians on Hunger Strike for Idlib
Last year he sustained a serious injury in another airstrike in Khan Sheikhoun. On social media, Syrian activists and journalists mourned him, with one social media user saying that death in Syria takes “the bravest and most innocent” and another praising him for continuing his work after being injured in the 2018 airstrike.
Local sources told The New Arab that 95 percent of Khan Sheikhoun’s population has now fled due to the destruction inflicted by Russian and regime airstrikes.
Wael Abboud, a local resident said that the regime was carrying out “a wholesale massacre and real destruction in the town”, adding that “regime planes don’t leave the skies”.
Khan Sheikhoun was the site of a chemical weapons attack by the regime in April 2017 which killed at least 80 people.
At least 640 people, including 150 children, have been killed in the current regime and Russian assault on Idlib province, which began in April despite a September 2018 ceasefire guaranteed by Turkey, Russia, and Iran. At least 330,000 people have been displaced by the assault.
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