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53 killed in Syria air strikes: Monitor

CHILDREN AMONG DEAD IN THREE STRIKES 

Beirut: Air strikes on a market killed at least 53 people, including children, in a town in northern Syria on Monday despite a “de-escalation zone” in place there, a monitor said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it was not immediately clear whether the strikes on rebel-held Atareb had been carried out by Syrian warplanes, or those of Damascus’s ally Russia. The monitor said three strikes hit the town’s market, adding that five children were among the dead, as well as three policemen. A photographer contributing to AFP saw massive destruction at the scene, with rubble from damaged buildings covering the street and panicked civilians carrying away the injured. Three men helped one of those hit in the attack, his face drenched in blood and his features almost completely obscured. Civil defence workers rushed alongside civilians to evacuate the injured, with one man in a thick beanie hat carrying a wailing child in a pink sweater away from the scene. Elsewhere, the bodies of at least three children were laid out on the ground, partly covered by thick bolts of fabric. Atareb is in the west of Aleppo province, in an area that is part of a “de-escalation zone” agreed under a deal earlier this year between Syria’s allies Russia and Iran, and rebel backer Turkey. Russia, a key ally of Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad, began a bombing campaign in support of his government in 2015. More than 330,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests.–AFP

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