BEIRUT (AP) — An airstrike on a market in a rebel-held town in the country’s northwestern province of Idlib Monday killed at least 10 civilians and wounded others, Syrian opposition activists said.
The airstrike comes amid an increase of violence in Idlib province, the country’s last opposition stronghold where fighting between troops and insurgents killed dozens of gunmen on both sides over the weekend.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Monday morning airstrike on the market in Maaret al-Numan killed 10 and wounded others. The Aleppo Media Center, an activist collective, that covers rebel-held areas in northern Syria also said 10 civilians were killed and dozens were wounded.
The opposition’s Syrian Civil Defense, also known as White Helmets, said nine civilians, including two women, were killed while 13, including two children, were wounded. The group said the death toll is not final yet.
“The bombardment of the market that was packed with civilians led to a massacre and wide destruction,” the Civil Defense said on its Facebook page that also posted photos of its paramedic removing bodies from the market. A beheaded man laid in a pool of blood in the market.
The Observatory and the Civil Defense reported another airstrike on the nearby town of Saraqeb saying it killed and wounded several people.
Syrian troops launched a four-month offensive earlier this year against Idlib, which is dominated by al-Qaeda-linked militants.
The Syrian government offensive forced hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee their homes. A fragile cease-fire halted the advance at the end of August, but in recent weeks it has been repeatedly violated.
Reporting by AP
Image: This photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows members of the Syrian Civil Defense transporting an injured person after an airstrike hit the northern town of Maaret al-Numan, in Idlib province, Syria, on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019 (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)