Published: Tue, January 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Airstrikes kill 17 civilians in Syrian rebel-held area, rescuers say

Airstrikes kill 17 civilians in Syrian rebel-held area, rescuers say

The Syria Civil Defence, whose rescue workers are known as the White Helmets, says four children and 11 women were among the 25 people killed.

Syrian activists and a war monitoring group say that at least 18 people have been killed in a auto bomb blast in the country's largest rebel-held city of Idlib.

Syrian television says the country's military has recaptured a strategically important town in the northwestern province of Idlib in its latest advance into rebel-held territory this year.

The Observatory said the attacks were carried out by an Islamist rebel faction that operates in rural Latakia province, southwest of Idlib, and which had targeted the air base a number of times since December 31.

The explosion, reported by some to have been from a auto bomb, targeted the headquarters of a minor rebel faction in Idlib, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In other footage, residents are heard screaming as they try to escape heavily damaged buildings, and the injured are seen being laid on stretchers and loaded into the back of vans to be taken away for treatment.

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Idlib, which borders Turkey to the north, is home to an estimated 2.5 million people, including one million who have fled other rebel-held parts of Syria in recent years.

Clashes also erupted Monday near the Damascus suburb of Harasta, after government forces reached troops trapped for more than a week in a military base surrounded by insurgents.

The regime's chokehold on the enclave has led to a desperate humanitarian situation there, with the government repeatedly refusing aid into the area or to allow civilians to easily leave.

Idlib is the capital of a province by the same name that is controlled by several rebel factions, including an al-Qaida-linked group.

Al Jazeera's Laura Burdon Manley has more.

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