Regime airstrikes on market in rebel-held Idlib leave 15 dead
Regime warplanes struck a market and an industrial area Wednesday in the last territory in the hands of rebel groups in northwestern Idlib province of Syria, killing at least 15 people, Syrian opposition activists told international media outlets.
According to the Syrian opposition aircraft observatory, Russian and the regime warplanes have targeted Idlib's Maarrat al-Numan county and some villages.
Yahya Abu al-Yaman, a volunteer with first responders the Syrian Civil Defense, said 15 people were killed and 65 were wounded in the strike. Most were in critical condition after warplanes struck a vegetable market and industrial area in Idlib city Wednesday afternoon. The two areas are a few hundreds meters (yards) apart.
The Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, said one of its volunteers was killed in the strike.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the two areas were crowded with people when the warplanes struck. It also put the death toll at 15.
The Observatory said airstrikes were also reported in other parts of Idlib province, recording at least 42 Russian raids and 33 by government warplanes. The Observatory has a network of activists on the ground and has been monitoring the war in Syria since it began in 2011.
The government also launched several barrel bombs from helicopters in rural Idlib, according to the Observatory. The bombs are rudimentary and inaccurate projectiles that cause massive destruction.
Although the Russian Defense Ministry claimed the cease-fire began in Syria's Idlib region on Jan. 9, the regime and Iran-backed terrorist groups continued their ground attacks.
On Jan. 9, the cease-fire was declared with Russia and Turkey's initiatives.
The cease-fire has been broken a few times with the ground attacks, but Wednesday's attack has been the first airstrike attack since the cease-fire was announced.
Turkey pushed hard for a cease-fire in Idlib after the region endured months of battering by forces loyal to the Bashar al-Assad regime and its allies, sending about a million civilian refugees flocking towards the Turkish border.
Also, Turkey and Russia agreed in September 2018 to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
Since then, more than 1,300 civilians there have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces as the cease-fire continued to be violated.
More than one million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks over the last year.