At least two civilians dead after Russian strikes in northwest Syria

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doll Copyright Manu Fernandez/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AFP
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Members of the White Helmets rescue group responded Wednesday after Russian shells hit an abandoned water pumping station hosting now displaced people in rebel-held territory

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At least two civilians were killed and five others were wounded late Tuesday night when Russian airstrikes struck the Ain Shib area, west of the city of Idlib, in Syria’s rebel-held northwestern region.

According to Rami al-Dandal, a volunteer from the White Helmets, an 18-year-old and an elderly person were killed while a woman and two children were among the injured.

Tuesday’s airstrikes are the latest in a series of recent Russian attacks in the area.

The Idlib region is home to about three million people, around half of them displaced from other parts of the country.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said the strikes near Ain Shib had targeted "military bases belonging to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)", the Islamist group that controls the province as well as Aleppo, Hama, and Latakia.

HTS is reportedly a former branch of the Syrian Al-Qaeda.

These provinces are the last remaining rebel-held areas in Syria, devastated by the brutal civil war that broke out in 2011. It has claimed the lives of at least 500,000 people and has caused large numbers of the Syrian population to flee.

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian air strikes targeting a rebel base north of Idlib City killed three members of HTS, while seven other fighters and five civilians were wounded, according to the Britain-based Observatory, which has a network of sources inside Syria

HTS regularly carries out deadly attacks on soldiers and pro-government forces.

Russia has been a staunch ally of President Bashar al-Assad since it intervened in the fighting in 2015. Russian airstrikes have reportedly played a significant part in turning the tides of fighting in favour of the Assad regime.

On 25 June, Russian air strikes killed at least 13 people including nine civilians in the Idlib province.

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