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Syrian airstrikes kill 73 in opposition-held territory

Debris of buildings and damaged vehicles are seen after Assad Regime forces carried out an airstrike over a market in Idlib, Syria on December 4 2016 [Bilal Baioush / Anadolu Agency]
Debris of buildings and damaged vehicles are seen after Assad Regime forces carried out an airstrike over a market in Idlib, Syria on December 4 2016 [Bilal Baioush / Anadolu Agency]

Air strikes killed at least 73 people in the opposition-held territory of Idlib yesterday, reported Reuters news agency. Another 38 were killed in the city of Maarat Al-Numan, south of Idlib.

The Russian and Syrian air forces have been conducting heavy strikes for months against opposition fighters in Idlib, south-west of Aleppo. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which broke the story, said that the death toll in Maarat Al-Numan includes five children and six members of a single family.

Once again, barrel bombs have been employed. The improvised bombs are made from oil drums filled with explosives and dropped from helicopters. The Syrian military and Russia both deny using the ordnance, whose use has been criticised by the United Nations.

Syria's civil war, which began in 2011, pits President Bashar Al-Assad, backed by Russia, Iran and Shi'ite Muslim militias, against mostly Sunni opposition groups. The latter include groups supported by the US, Turkey and Gulf kingdoms.

Russia claims that its air strikes, which began in September 2015, are aimed at preventing jihadists, including both Fateh Al-Sham and Daesh, from gaining more territory in Syria that could be used to mount attacks overseas.

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Europe & RussiaMiddle EastNewsRussiaSyria
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