Syria - At least 544 people have been killed and over 2 000 people injured when a Russian-led assault on the last rebel bastion in northwestern Syria began two months ago.
Russian jets joined the Syrian army on April 26 in the biggest offensive against parts of rebel-held Idlib province and adjoining northern Hama provinces in the biggest escalation in the war between Syrian President Bashar al Assad and his enemies.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), which monitors casualties and briefs various UN agencies, said the 544 people killed in the hundreds of attacks carried out by Russian jets and the Syrian army include 130 children.
“The Russian military and its Syrian ally are deliberately targeting people with a record number of medical facilities bombed,” said Fadel Abdul Ghany, chairman of SNHR.
Residents and rescuers say the two-month-old campaign has left dozens of villages and towns in ruins.
According to the United Nations, at least 300 000 people have been forced to leave their homes for the safety of areas closer to the border with Turkey.
“Whole villages and towns have been emptied,” said Idlib-based Civil Defence spokesman Ahmad al Sheikho.
On Friday, 15 people, including children, were killed in the village of Mhambil in western Idlib province after Syrian army helicopters dropped barrel bombs on a civilian quarter. - Reuters