Apparent Russian Air Strike Kills 11 Civilians in Syria’s Idlib Province
Civil defense workers in Syria’s rebel-held Idlib Province say an airstrike late Wednesday killed 11 civilians, including a child, who were on a road near the town of Ariha fleeing a government offensive. The workers, members of the White Helmets, a safety and rescue group opposed to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, claim that Russian aircraft were responsible. Russia has been backing Assad in his ongoing quest to rid the country of rebels after almost nine years of a brutal civil war that is estimated to have killed close to 500,000 people and displaced several million more, including close to 400,000 who have fled the latest offensive, begun in December. Idlib Province is considered the last of the country’s rebel held areas, controlled most prominently by Islamists once aligned with al-Qaida. A hospital was also said to have been damaged in the Wednesday night airstrike.