January 29, 2018 / 11:23 AM / 21 days ago

Air strikes kill more than 30 in Syria's Idlib - monitor, rescuers

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Air strikes in Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province have killed at least 33 people since Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and rescue workers in Idlib said on Monday.

Most of the dead were in Saraqib, a town on the main highway linking to the government-held city of Aleppo and 20 km (12 miles) northwest of the Abu al-Duhur air base, which government forces and allied militias have captured from insurgents.

Syrian state media carried no reports of air strikes on Monday in Idlib but said the army and its allies had expanded their control around the air base - a focal point of a recent government offensive.

Idlib’s civil defence, a rescue service in rebel territory known as the White Helmets, said air strikes over the past 24 hours hit several villages in the northwestern province. Mustafa al-Haj Youssef, head of the Idlib civil defence, said more than 35 people had been wounded.

He said jets struck a vegetable market north of Saraqib at 8 a.m. (0600 GMT) on Monday. “Directly after, the hospital where the wounded were transferred was targeted, causing injuries among the medical staff, and the hospital went fully out of service,” he told Reuters by phone.

The Syrian government says it only targets militants and has repeatedly denied striking civilian facilities such as hospitals.

Reporting by Ellen Francis and Tom Perry; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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