At least 40′ killed after Russian airstrike hits popular marketplace in Syrian town controlled by rebels
- Russian jets bombed the town of Ariha, in north-west Syria, on Sunday
- Initial reports suggested 18 civilians killed, but this has risen sharply
- Town is controlled by opposition forces and is not an ISIS stronghold
- Russian forces have been bombing Syria since the end of September
A Russian bombing raid on a Syrian town controlled by rebel forces has left at least 40 dead and dozens wounded.
The strike hit a popular market place on Sunday in the town of Ariha, north-west Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
The Observatory believes as many as 60 may have been killed in the attack, which was launched in support of Syrian president Bashar Al Assad. Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Observatory, said a total of at least 60 people had been killed and wounded in the attack. The town is in Idlib province, an area controlled by anti-government forces, including the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front. The province is not a stronghold of ISIS, which controls wide swathes of eastern Syria.
Russia says its airstrikes – which began at the end of September – are targeting ISIS and other ‘terrorists’, but Western officials and Syrian rebels say most of the strikes have focused on central and northern Syria, where ISIS does not have a strong presence