25 civilians killed by Syrian government airstrikes in Idlib

Many others were still covered by rubble, rescuers said.

By Weedah Hamzah / dpa

BEIRUT — At least 25 civilians were killed Monday in intensified Syrian government airstrikes on rebel-held areas in Idlib province, a rescue team and a monitoring group said.

The White Helmets, rescue teams that work only in rebel-held areas, told dpa that airstrikes late Monday targeted the village of Jabla, killing at least 12 civilians. Many others were still covered by rubble, the rescuers said.

Activists in Idlib posted graphic photos of bodies scattered on a street inside the village of Jabla.

Meanwhile, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human rights said the number of people killed in earlier airstrikes on the city of Khan Sheikoun had risen to 13.

Ahmed Sheikho, head of the White Helmets in Idlib, said that 24 people were wounded, among them children, when government strikes hit the city’s center.

The Observatory said government planes conducted 105 strikes targeting Khan Sheikhoun and areas in the northern and eastern parts of Idlib, as well as regions in its northern countryside.

Late last month forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad, supported by Russian air power, initiated a massive campaign against rebels in Hama and Idlib, the last major opposition strongholds in Syria.

The Observatory, which has been documenting violence in Syria since 2011, has put the civilian death toll in Idlib and Hama since the end of April at 387, including 94 children.

The escalation has also displaced more than 300,000 people, the watchdog said.

In September, Russia reached a deal with Turkey, a supporter of some rebel groups, to establish a demilitarized buffer zone in the Idlib enclave.

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