At least 15 civilians have been killed in an air assault in Syria’s northwest province of Idlib, civilians and civil defence teams said.
The assault took area in the vicinity of the Maaret Misreen town, north of Idlib city centre, in a single day on Thursday and centered a poultry farm where dozens of displaced Syrians had taken refuge.
“At round 2:30am local time [23:30 GMT on Wednesday], Russian warplanes targeted the road between Maaret Misreen and Batinteh village,” stated Abedalrazzaq Zaqzooq, a sanatorium worker. “As first responders and other civilians gathered round at the site, the Russian aircraft struck again.”
Zaqzooq stated at least 20 human beings have been injured and taken to the medical complicated in Maaret Misreen after eight missiles hit the poultry farm.
“The most devastating picture I saw with my personal eyes was once the arrival of two infants to the hospital,” he said.
“They had been each below six months and had been rescued from under the rubble however had been mentioned lifeless at the hospital.”
About 50 people had been dwelling on the farm. These households had been displaced from Aleppo’s western geographical region and southern Idlib – two territories that are now beneath the control of Syrian government forces.
Another witness, Ahmad Mimaar, instructed Al Jazeera that at least nine girls have been among these killed.
“There had been two Russian strikes,” stated Mimaar. “We spent the morning retrieving human beings from underneath the rubble.”
According to Mustafa al-Haj Yousef, head of the volunteer search-and-rescue corporation White Helmets in Idlib, most of those killed in the assault were women and children.
“The number of casualties is expected to go up because some of these injured are in vital condition,” Yousef instructed Al Jazeera. “The regime is persevering with its scorched earth coverage with no regards to civilian lives.
“Civilians don’t have any trust in the political procedure any more. There has been many summits and talks and negotiations over the previous 9 years, but the reality on the floor is that the Syrian regime says one element however continues to put into effect a army solution.”
The attack got here simply hours earlier than the presidents of Russia and Turkey meet in Moscow to discuss the deteriorating situation in Idlib and a ceasefire.
According to the White Helmets, 612 Syrian civilians have been killed with the aid of government forces and its allies since the beginning of this year.
Mimaar stated he does now not expect any productive consequence in Moscow.
“There may not be a ceasefire till the Syrian regime withdraws from Idlib and observes the 2018 Sochi agreement,” he said, referring to a deal between Ankara and Moscow that had precise the northwest province as a de-escalation zone.
Last week, Turkey launched a military operation dubbed Spring Shield in response to the killing of at least 33 of its soldiers by Russian-backed Syrian government forces.
Turkey, which helps some of the armed opposition groups, set up several observation factors in Idlib that had repeatedly come underneath assault seeing that the intensification of a army offensive by means of President Bashar al-Assad’s army and its allies closing December.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned the Syrian government to withdraw from Idlib as section of the Sochi settlement by the give up of ultimate month. However, the hostilities has escalated, with Turkish forces downing at least three Syrian authorities planes over the past few days.
Meanwhile, two other Turkish troopers were killed on Wednesday, bringing the complete demise toll in view that February to greater than 50.
Yet Raja Androon, a 65-year-old Syrian girl from Idlib whose two sons had been killed by using Syrian government forces and now lives in Antakya, said she is no longer constructive about the outcome of the talks.
“The talks may end result in less fighting, but I’m now not retaining my breath for the Syrian regime to get out of Idlib,” stated Androon. “I hope Idlib will come beneath autonomous rule, and not fall beneath Assad’s control.”
Since closing December, almost one million civilians have been internally displaced to the border with Turkey, which the United Nations has described as the worst humanitarian crisis in Syria’s nine-year civil war.
The majority have struggled to discover enough sheltering, and many households are compelled to camp out in the open.
More than 300 civilians have been killed in the identical period, the UN said.