Syria’s War: Several Killed In Air Raids

At least 10 people killed in government attacks on rebel-held towns in northwest Syria, rescue workers say.

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Syria's War Air Raid
The Syrian Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, said the raids targeted two separate vegetable markets in the towns of Maaret al-Numan and Saraqeb on Monday.

At least 10 civilians have been killed in }government air raids on rebel-controlled towns in the country’s northwest, according to rescue workers who operate in opposition-held areas.

Nine people were killed in Maaret al-Numan and one person died in Saraqeb.

18 others – five in Maaret al-Numan and 13 in Saraqeb – were wounded in the attacks.

“Warplanes belonging to [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad’s forces targeted the market in Saraqeb first at around 9am (07:00 GMT),” a survivor said.

“A while later, at around 10:30am (08:30 GMT), a second round of attacks struck the market in Maaret al-Numan, resulting in casualties and in material damages as well,” he said.

Syria's Air Raid
“They bombarded half the market. Our neighbours were killed,” as were two women in a car who had come to do some shopping, he said.

There was no immediate mention of the air raids on Syrian state media.

The attacks came at a time when the markets were at their “busiest”, the Civil Defence said in a Twitter post.

What Turkey and Russia think?

The Turkish defence ministry put the death toll from the attacks on the two marketplaces at 14, according to a statement posted on its official Twitter account.

Russia and Turkey had cosponsored a de-escalation agreement for the area earlier this year that has since faltered.

Since late April, Syria and Russia have escalated their bombardment of the area, with more than 1,000 civilians killed in the hostilities, according to the United Nations.

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been displaced since the escalation began.

The Syrian troops on the offensive have recently captured rebel-held areas in the adjoining Hama province.

They are now seemingly pushing north, towards the town of Maaret al-Numan, which sits on the M5 highway linking Damascus with the northern city of Aleppo.

Syria's War
The Syrian government has been battling to take control of the strategic highway, a move that would allow it to connect cities under its control and boost trade.

A ceasefire announced by Moscow on August 31 has reduced air raids, but skirmishes on the ground have continued.

The region is home to nearly three million people, half of whom were transferred there en masse from other areas that were taken by pro-government forces.

The war in Syria has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions since it erupted in 2011 with the repression of anti-government protests.

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