Children among civilians killed in Russian air strike on Syrian villages

At least seven civilians, including five children, have been killed and 13 others injured when Russian airstrikes hit Christian-majority villages in the west of Syria’s Idlib province.

According to the opposition aircraft observatory, the Russian warplane took off from the Khmeimim air base in Latakia and hit Al-Yacoubiyah and Judayda villages early Friday.

White Helmets, or Syrian Civil Defence, officials said initial reports suggested seven civilians, including five children, were killed and 13 others injured in the attack.

The children are all under 10 years old, said Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the British-based Observatory.

Six of the victims are confirmed to be civilians, the Observatory said, adding that more people including women and children were still trapped under the rubble.

The victims are mostly displaced Syrians from neighbouring Hama province, said the monitor, which relies on a wide network of sources inside Syria.

'De-escalation zones'

During the Astana meeting in 2017, Türkiye, Russia and Iran agreed to create four "de-escalation zones" in the area that is not controlled by the Assad regime. 

However, the Syrian regime, Iran-backed terrorists and Russia continued their attacks and took over three of the four regions and headed for Idlib.

Although Türkiye reached an additional agreement to strengthen the cease-fire with Russia in September 2018, the attacks intensified again in May 2019. 

The cease-fire, however, is largely preserved now after Türkiye and Russia reached a new agreement on March 5, 2020.

Approximately two million civilians fleeing the attacks during the 2017-2020 period had to migrate to regions close to the Turkish border./agencies