Tue, 22 Sep 2020

Airstrikes in Syria Kill at Least 20 Near School, Markets

Voice of America
03 Dec 2019, 09:05 GMT+10

Separate airstrikes in Syria, suspected of being carried out by the Syrian government and Turkey, have killed at least 20 people, according to activists.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said one of the airstrikes, believed to be carried out by the Syrian government, hit a popular market in the northwestern rebel-held town of Maaret al-Numan on Monday, killing 13 civilians. The Syrian Civil Defense, comprised of first responders, put the death toll at nine civilians.

A second market in the nearby town of Saraqib was also hit by airstrikes, killing several people, according to activists.

Syria's northwestern region is the last major area controlled by Syrian rebels after more than eight years of civil war. The area has become home to hundreds of thousands of people who fled other parts of Syria during the conflict.

Last month, the Syrian government began a new advance on the region, retaking villages with the help of Russian and Syrian warplanes.

Shortly after Monday's market attacks, an airstrike by Turkish forces hit the Kurdish-held town of Tal Rifaat, with shells landing near a school. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said nine people were killed, most of them children.

In Syria's northeast, parts of the country are controlled by Kurdish forces once allied with the United States.

Turkey launched an incursion into the region in October to target Kurdish fighters following a U.S. withdrawal of troops from Syria.

The Kurdish YPG militia fought alongside the United States to battle Islamic State, however Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist threat linked to a decades-long Kurdish insurgency in Turkey.

Turkey stopped its offensive following an October Turkish-Russian cease-fire deal, which saw Kurdish forces withdraw from most areas along the Turkish border.

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