More than 50 Syrian civilians killed in Idlib 'by Russian and Assad regime strikes'

More than 50 Syrian civilians killed in Idlib 'by Russian and Assad regime strikes'Regime and Russian air strikes killed 50 people in northwest Syria on Monday, most of them in a crowded market, a war monitor said, in the latest violence to plague the opposition bastion. In the town of Maaret al-Numan in Idlib province, men covered in blood were carried away from the market by residents and rescue workers, who used mattresses as makeshift stretchers, an AFP photographer said. He saw the corpse of one man sprawled on the ground near a motorcycle, rubble surrounding his lifeless body. With his eyes closed and his face covered in dust, another man clutched the arms of two people helping him out of the bombed area, the photographer added. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said air strikes on the vegetable market and surrounding areas in Maaret al-Numan killed 36 civilians and two unidentified persons. A member of the Syrian civil defence, known as the White Helmets, rests atop an excavator after participating in a search for victims under the rubble of buildings Credit: ABDULAZIZ KETAZ/AFP/Getty Images The Britain-based monitor said Russian aircraft carried out the air raids, but Moscow denied it was responsible. "The Russian air force was not carrying out any missions in this part of Syria," said a defence ministry statement. More than 100 other people were wounded, according to the monitor, which said many of those injured were in a critical condition and people remained trapped under the rubble. The head of the local hospital, Radwan Shardub, described his horror at seeing "burnt and carbonised bodies, and body parts". "It's boundless criminality to shameful international silence," he said. The White Helmets rescue group said one of its volunteers was killed during the raids, raising the number of rescue workers killed since April to at least 6. A member of the Syrian civil defence, known as the White Helmets, helps an injured Syrian child after pulling him out from under the rubble  Credit: OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP/Getty Images The jihadist-run Idlib region, home to some three million people, is supposed to be protected by a months-old international truce deal, but it has come under increased bombardment by the Syrian regime and its ally Russia since late April. The spike in violence has killed more than 690 civilians, and damaged or knocked out of service two dozen health facilities in jihadist-held territory. More than 330,000 people have fled violence in the area over the past three months, according to the United Nations.



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