Civilians trapped among Syria's jihadists in Idlib under the threat of Assad air strikes

More than 90 civilians, including children, were killed during the weekend in Syrian air strikes

More than 90 civilians, including children, were killed in Syrian airstrikes in rebel-controlled Idlib province during the weekend.

Syrian and Russian forces dropped bombs on the southeastern city, where 2.5 million civilians are under jihadist control.

Their lives continue under threat as President Bashar al-Assad continues to attack Idlib, seen as one of the final acts of a seven-year war.

More than 90 civilians, including children, were killed during the weekend in Syrian air strikes

More than 90 civilians, including children, were killed during the weekend in Syrian air strikes

An explosion of unknown origin at a weapons depot in Idlib killed at least 12 civilians on Sunday, a war monitor said.

On Sunday morning, the rescue teams used an excavator to remove the debris and extract the trapped people.

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Monitoring Center for Human Rights, said the death toll could rise as dozens are still missing.

"The explosion occurred in a weapons warehouse in a residential building in Sarmada," said the head of the British-based monitor.

But the cause of the explosion "is still unclear," Abdel Rahman added.

A rescue worker brought the immobile body of a small child from the remains to an ambulance, the AFP correspondent said.

Behind the mounds of rubble, the facade of a building was scorched, due to a fire after the explosion.

A source of civil defense said that women and children were among the dead.

On Sunday morning, the rescue teams used an excavator to remove the debris and the trapped free people. In the picture: rescue workers carry a girl from the rubble last week

On Sunday morning, the rescue teams used an excavator to remove the debris and the trapped free people. In the picture: rescue workers carry a girl from the rubble last week

On Sunday morning, the rescue teams used an excavator to remove the debris and the trapped free people. In the picture: rescue workers carry a girl from the rubble last week

But the rescuers had brought out five people who were still alive, "the source said.

Most of Idlib is controlled by rebels and jihadists led by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, but the Islamic State group also has dormant cells in the area.

The regime has a small slip southeast of Idlib. In recent months, a series of explosions and assassinations – mainly against rebel officers and fighters – have shaken the province.

While some attacks have been claimed by IS, most are the result of infighting since last year among several other groups.

In recent days, regime forces have stepped up their deadly bombardment of southern Idlib and sent reinforcements to the nearby areas they control.

President Bashar al-Assad has warned that government forces are trying to retake Idlib, after his Russian-backed regime regained control of strips of territory retained by rebels elsewhere.

About 2.5 million people live in the province, half of them displaced by fighting in other parts of the country.

More than 350,000 people have died and millions have been displaced since the civil war in Syria began in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

More than 2.5 million civilians live in Idlib. The province is under rebel and jihadist control

More than 2.5 million civilians live in Idlib. The province is under rebel and jihadist control

More than 2.5 million civilians live in Idlib. The province is under rebel and jihadist control

At least 53 civilians, including 28 children, were killed in the fierce bombardment of Idlib on Friday.

The war monitor said that 41 civilians, including 25 children, were killed in the rebel city of Orum al-Kubra, in the province of Aleppo, while 12 civilians, three of them children, died in Idlib.

On Friday night the Observatory had given a combined toll of around 30 dead.

"The price increased after the discovery of new victims under the rubble and the death of some of the injured," said the director of the Observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman.

The Observatory said it was not clear whether the Syrian regime or its Russian supporters were responsible for the bombing of Aleppo, but blamed the allies for beating Idlib.

Abdel Rahman said the bombing on Friday was the most intense since Idlib was declared "de-escalation zone". last year.

He said the death toll in areas controlled by the Aleppo rebels was the highest since the beginning of 2018.

Idlib contains the largest portion of territory still held by the rebels, and President Bashar al-Assad has warned that it will be his next target after taking opposition strongholds near Damascus and in the south of the country.

The rebels have lost fringes of territory that once controlled Syrian regime forces in recent months, including three areas designated as "de-escalation zones."

The Observatory said that reinforcements of the regime, including troops and equipment, had been accumulating around the southwestern part of Idlib for several days.

A full-blown assault would be devastating for the approximately 2.5 million people living in Idlib, many of them rebels and civilians expelled from other areas who returned under the control of the regime.

The United Nations appealed on Thursday to talks to avoid a "bloodbath" in the province, which borders Turkey.

Jan Egeland, head of the UN humanitarian work group for Syria, said the war "can not be allowed to go to Idlib."

More than 350,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since the civil war in Syria began in 2011 with brutally suppressed anti-government demonstrations.

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