Syria: Dozens dead as airstrikes destroy market and school

Elias Hubbard
December 3, 2019

The airstrikes hit a fruit and vegetable market in Maaret al-Numan, south of Idlib, and a second produce market in Saraqib to the east, according to the White Helmets, a civil defence and rescue group operating in rebel areas of Syria.

An airstrike on a market in in the town of Maaret al-Noumaan in Idlib believed to have been carried out by Syrian forces, killing at least 13 civilians on Monday.

Two days of clashes between government forces and armed groups in Syria's last major opposition bastion have killed nearly 100 on both sides, undermining a months-long ceasefire agreement, a UK-based activist group said on Monday. The Observatory said nine people were killed, while Hawar put the death toll at 10.

According to the Observatory, more than 160 civilians and more than 460 fighters, including government forces, have been killed since the deal went into effect.

Fifty-four regime fighters have been killed since Saturday and 47 of their foes including 33 jihadists have also lost their lives, the Observatory said.

"Warplanes belonging to [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad's forces targeted the market in Saraqeb first at around 9am (07:00 GMT)", Sheikho told Al Jazeera.

The late August ceasefire had brought about relative calm, months into a devastating Russia-backed regime offensive that killed around 1,000 civilians and ousted hundreds of thousands from their homes.

Footage released by Kurdish-run media purported to show bloody and bandaged young men being carried into a crowded medical facility after the attack.

But Russia intervened to stop the planned offensive.

Following talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a Russian-Turkish memorandum was signed on 22 October in Russia's Sochi, which stipulates conditions for the peaceful withdrawal of Kurdish militants in Syria to a distance of 30 kilometres (18.6 miles) from the border with Turkey.

Tal Rifaat is held by local Kurdish fighters displaced from Afrin, the Observatory head said. The Russian armed forces have been providing military assistance to Damascus throughout the conflict, while also carrying out regular humanitarian operations across the country.

In the two months since the operation began, it has established a so-called "safe zone" in a 120-kilometre (70-mile)-long strip along its southern border, where it says it wants to resettle Syrian refugees.

"We have agreed on the deployment of Russian forces in Amuda, Tal Tamr and Ain Issa to secure safety and stability in the area", Mazloum Abdi said after a meeting with the chief of Russian forces in Syria.

Separately, three Russian military police officers were wounded in a blast in northern Syria on Monday, Russia's Defense Ministry said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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