Regime air raids kill 11 civilians in northwest Syria: monitor

Smoke billows following an airstrike by Syrian regime forces in Maar Shurin on the outskirts of Maaret al-Numan in northwest Syria (AFP Photo/Abdulaziz KETAZ)

Maar Shureen (Syria) (AFP) - Regime air strikes on Tuesday killed 11 civilians in opposition-held northwest Syria, the target of months of bombardment by the government and its ally Russia, a war monitor said.

Three children were among 10 civilians killed in the village of Maar Shureen in the south of Idlib province, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

An AFP photographer said the strike hit near a mosque in the centre of the village, destroying vegetable stalls and shops.

Another man was killed in regime air strikes on the northern countryside of nearby Hama province, according to the Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria.

Russian and Syrian regime aircraft have ramped up strikes on Idlib since late April, killing more than 600 civilians, while 52 others have died from rebel fire, according to the monitor.

Government forces have also been locked in battle with jihadists and allied rebels on the edges of the bastion, which is held by Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, including the north of Hama province.

The group in January took full administrative control of the Idlib region, home to three million people, although other jihadist groups and rebel factions are also present.

Idlib and its surrounding areas are supposed to be protected from a massive regime offensive by a September 2018 deal between Russia and rebel backer Turkey.

A buffer zone planned under that accord was never fully implemented, and the region has seen an uptick in violence.

Syria's war has killed a total of more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.