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Russian airstrike kills 19 in Syria

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Sixteen civilians were among 19 people killed Monday in a Russian airstrike on a market in northwest Syria, a monitor said, in the latest violence to plague the opposition bastion.

At least 45 other people were wounded in the air raid that hit “a wholesale vegetable market in the town of Maaret al-Numan” in Idlib province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The death toll could still rise as many of those wounded are in a critical condition and some people are still trapped under rubble, the Britain-based monitor said.

Observatory head Rami Abdelrahman said 16 of those killed were civilians while three other bodies remain to be identified.

AFP reports that the latest strike comes one day after air raids by Damascus and its Russian ally on Syria’s jihadist-run Idlib region killed 18 people, including a young citizen journalist.

Anas al-Dyab, a photographer and videographer in his early 20s, was a member of the White Helmets rescue group who also contributed to AFP.

He was killed in Russian airstrikes in his hometown of Khan Sheikhun on Sunday, rescuers and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Damascus regime and its Russian ally have stepped up their deadly bombardment of Idlib since late April, despite a September buffer zone deal to protect the region of some three million people from a massive military assault.

The spike in violence has killed more than 650 civilians, caused tens of thousands to flee their homes, and damaged or knocked out of service two dozen health facilities.

Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in January took full administrative control of the region, although other jihadists and rebels are also present.

Syria’s war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.

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