Suspected Russian strikes kill 44 civilians in northwest Syria: Monitor

Syrian rescuers and civilians recover bodies in Zardana, in the mostly opposition-held northern Syrian Idlib province, in the aftermath of airstrikes in the area, on June 8. AFP
Updated 09 June 2018
0

Suspected Russian strikes kill 44 civilians in northwest Syria: Monitor

  • The air strikes are thought to have been carried out by Russian jets on a residential area in northwestern Syrian
  • The toll includes five children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said

BEIRUT: Airstrikes thought to have been carried out by Russian jets on an opposition-held residential area in northwestern Syria have killed 44 civilians, a Britain-based monitor said on Friday.
Six children were among those killed when the strikes hit the Zardana area of Idlib province late Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
This is the highest death toll in a single attack on the region this year, it noted.
The monitoring group said Russian war planes probably carried out the attacks. The Russian Defense Ministry dismissed the Observatory’s reports of strikes on Zardana as having “nothing to do with reality,” in a statement carried by the TASS news agency. It denied its war planes were involved.
Russia is Syria’s main ally in his war against an armed opposition, now in its seventh year.
The Observatory said the jets targeted the village of Zardana in northern rural Idlib overnight, killing 27 men, 11 women and six children.
The death toll is expected to increase, since some of the 60 injured in the strikes were in a critical condition, the Britain-based Observatory said. Rescue workers were still searching the rubble for survivors.
An AFP correspondent at the scene saw volunteers with a crane still searching the rubble in the early morning.
Half-a-dozen men in civilian clothes helped carry a person in a black body bag away from the site of the strikes, which pulverised several buildings.
At night, dozens of wounded streamed in to the local hospital, including children, women, elderly people and rescue volunteers, the correspondent said.
Dust dashed with blood covered the twisted bodies of the dead.
Most of Idlib province is held by an array of militant groups with only parts controlled by the Russian-backed government.
The Russian ministry was quoted as saying it had information about fighting between Nusra Front militants and opposition fighters involving heavy artillery fire in the past 24 hours.
The Observatory had reported on Wednesday night violent clashes in the village between local factions, but later said the destruction and resulting casualties were due to airstrikes.
Idlib, a region in northwestern Syria, remains the largest populated area of the country in the hands of insurgents fighting the Damascus government.
In recent years, tens of thousands of fighters and civilians have fled there from parts of the country the army has recaptured with the help of Russia and Iran.
Zardana is largely controlled by opposition fighters, with a small presence of the Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham alliance led by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate.
Since Russia intervened in its support in 2015, the government has regained control of around half of the country.
More than 350,000 people have been killed in the Syrian war since it started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.
The Observatory says it relies on sources inside Syria for its information, and determines who carried out strikes on the basis of flight patterns, and the type of aircraft and ammunition used.


US wants to see a Yemen that is unified, stable and prosperous: ambassador

Updated 42 min 28 sec ago
0

US wants to see a Yemen that is unified, stable and prosperous: ambassador

  • “We are making every effort to end the conflict in Yemen,” Tueller told a press conference in Aden
  • The ceasefire deal laid out the de-escalation of conflict in Hodeidah as an important first step for sustainable peace in Yemen

DUBAI: US Ambassador to Yemen Matthew H. Tueller on Tuesday said Washington was concerned about the situation in Yemen even as he reiterated the US’s continued support of the Yemeni government.
“We are making every effort to end the conflict in Yemen,” Tueller told a press conference in Aden, emphasizing Washington’s interest on Yemen’s unity and stability.
Tueller also expressed frustration by the delays and stalling by the Iran-backed Houthis in implementing the ceasefire agreement signed in Stockholm in December.
The ceasefire deal laid out the de-escalation of conflict in Hodeidah as an important first step for sustainable peace in Yemen.
“Some Yemeni groups are threatening neighboring countries with heavy weapons,” the American ambassador said, and he called for the adherence to international resolutions by banning the supply of weapons into the country.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is on a regional tour to push for a greater role for the Middle East Strategic Alliance, a US-sponsored Arab NATO-style bloc aimed at uniting Washington’s Arab allies against Tehran.