BEIRUT (AP) — Airstrikes on a Syrian village in the rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib killed at least 17 people, including women and children, activists and rescue workers said Wednesday.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the overnight strikes killed at least four children and two women, and wiped out an entire family of displaced.
The monitoring group, which tracks the Syrian civil war through a network of activists on the ground, said the number of casualties is likely to climb because more than 30 people were wounded in the strikes and some of them were in serious condition.
The Syrian Civil Defense, first responders also known as the White Helmets, said the airstrikes late on Tuesday hit a residential compound in the village of Maar Shurin in southern Idlib, destroying an entire bloc. It put the death toll at 19.
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The group posted pictures of its volunteers struggling to pull bodies from the rubble and described the airstrikes as highly explosive. Images posted by a local activist-operated media platform, The Idlib Media Center, showed a twisted car next to rubble of squashed buildings.
Idlib is a rebel and insurgent stronghold where President Bashar Assad’s forces have recently launched an offensive to try and retake the province after losing it nearly three years ago. Intense fighting in recent days has brought government troops into Idlib’s southern edges for the first time in years and airstrikes have intensified amid the offensive.