January 1, 2020 / 6:17 PM / 24 days ago

Eight people killed in Syria army bombing in rebel-held Idlib: medics

AMMAN (Reuters) - At least eight people were killed on Wednesday when the Syrian army launched missiles that struck a shelter for displaced families in the country’s northwest, witnesses and residents said.

Five children were among those killed in the strike on a disused school in the town of Sarmin in Idlib province, two medics said, adding over 16 people were injured.

The school building was being used by families fleeing a Russian-backed bombing campaign in Idlib, the last opposition bastion in the northwest.

Sarmin is among towns and villages that have been pounded relentlessly by Russian jets and Syrian artillery since a renewed government assault last month, despite a deal agreed last September by leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran to ease tensions.

Ground-to-ground missiles fired by the Syrian army killed at least 11 children at a camp in Qah village in Idlib on November 20, according to medics and witnesses.

The United Nations last week said 235,000 civilians had fled their homes in just two weeks between Dec 12 and 25.

The Russian-led campaign that started in April 2019 had already forced at least 500,000 people to leave for areas closer to the border with Turkey, which Russian jets rarely hit.

Rescue services and witnesses say the bombing campaign that has killed several thousand civilians has left many towns in ruins and knocked out dozens of medical centers.

U.S. President Donald Trump spoke out last week against the “carnage” in Idlib. Moscow and Damascus deny claims of indiscriminate bombing of civilians, saying say they are fighting jihadist militants.

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi, Editing by William Maclean

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