Air strike on Syria market kills 19

BEIRUT (AFP) – Sixteen civilians were among 19 people killed yesterday in a Russian air strike 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.

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

Members of the Syrian civil defence, known as the White Helmets, pull out bodies and wounded people from under the rubble following an air strike on Maaret al-Numan in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province. – AFP

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 air strikes in his hometown of Khan Sheikhun last 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.