Russian warplanes bomb Turkish-Syrian border town: residents

AMMAN (Reuters) - Residents said on Thursday that Russian warplanes bombed a rebel-held Syrian town along the Turkish border a day after hitting a truck depot near a crossing between the two countries.

One resident said the air strikes hit a busy main square in the town of Saraqeb in Idlib province, where hundreds of vehicles brought in through the nearby Bab al Hawa border crossing were being sold.

A second resident who was nearby and witnessed the bombing said several wounded people had been taken to hospital. Hundreds of drivers had raced away from the scene immediately afterwards in the vehicles they had hoped to sell, he said.

Residents and rebels in the area say it is easy to identify planes from factors including the altitude at which they fly and the number of planes in the sorties.

The car market in Saraqeb is the biggest in the province and the town is also Idlib’s main commercial hub.

Jets, believed to be Russian, hit a depot for trucks waiting to go through a major rebel-controlled border crossing, Bab al-Salam, on Wednesday, the head of the crossing said.

Syrian jets have struck that area before but, if confirmed to have been carried out by Russia, it would be one of Moscow’s closest air strikes to Turkish territory, targeting a humanitarian corridor into rebel-held Syria and an important transit point for Syrian civilians crossing to Turkey.

Turkey shot down a Russian jet, which it said entered its air space, on Tuesday. Russia said the plane had not left Syrian air space.

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Louise Ireland