Russian Planes Blamed for Killing Civilians as Syrian Troops Advance in Idlib
Syrian troops captured a key highway town in Idlib Province on Tuesday morning in their week-long offensive against the last rebels fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. The village of Maaret al-Numan controls part of the main road running from the capital Damascus to the northwestern city of Aleppo. Rights activists are blaming Russian warplanes, which apparently have been backing the government offensive, for leveling a school in the village of Jobas on Tuesday, killing at least eight civilians, including five children, who were using it for shelter. The United Nations has estimated that at least 60,000 people have fled their homes due to the onslaught against Islamist rebels once allied with al-Qaida. Opposition groups have said that government troops are now holding dozens of villages in the southern part of Idlib Province and are making their way northward toward the border with Turkey.