Air raids kill 21 civil­ians in Aleppo

Muscat Daily - - REGION -

Beirut, Le­banon - At least 21 civil­ians, in­clud­ing five chil­dren, were killed on Mon­day in airstrikes on Syria’s north­ern Aleppo prov­ince, de­spite a ‘de-es­ca­la­tion zone’ in place there, a mon­i­tor said.

The Britain-based Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights said it was not im­me­di­ately clear whether the strikes on the re­bel­held town of Atareb had been car­ried out by Syr­ian war­planes, or those of Da­m­as­cus’s ally Rus- sia. The mon­i­tor said three strikes hit the town’s mar­ket, adding that the over­all toll was ex­pected to rise be­cause dozens of peo­ple had been wounded or were still miss­ing af­ter the at­tack.

Atareb is in the west of Aleppo prov­ince, in an area that is part of a ‘de-es­ca­la­tion zone’ agreed un­der a deal this year be­tween Syria’s al­lies Rus­sia and Iran, and rebel backer Turkey.

The zone mostly cov­ers neigh­bour­ing Idlib prov­ince, which is largely held by op­po­si­tion forces and a ter­ror group for­merly af­fil­i­ated with Al Qaeda.

De­spite the gov­ern­ment’s re­cap­ture of Aleppo city late last year, rebel groups main­tain a pres­ence in the west of the prov­ince. More than 330,000 peo­ple have been killed in Syria since the con­flict be­gan in March 2011 with anti-gov­ern­ment protests.

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