Airstrikes kill at least 12 in northern Syria | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Airstrikes kill at least 12 in northern Syria

May 13, 2016 - 11:29 AM

BEIRUT - Suspected Syrian government airstrikes in the northern city of Idlib killed at least 12 people on Friday, activists said.

The strikes came as part of an intensified air campaign launched after Islamic militants, including al-Qaida fighters, seized a central Alawite village. President Bashar Assad hails from the Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shiite Islam that has been targeted by Sunni militants throughout the civil war.

Raed Saleh, the head of a first responders group that operates in opposition-held areas, said at least 15 bodies, including those of three children, were pulled from the rubble after two airstrikes in a residential area of Idlib. He said another 38 people were wounded.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on activists inside Syria, put the death toll at 12 and said it was likely to rise as rescue efforts were still underway.

A coalition of insurgent groups, including the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front, captured Idlib and the surrounding province of the same name last year.

The airstrikes came a day after insurgents captured the village of Zaara in central Syria, where activists and government media said dozens of civilians were killed. Ahmad al-Ahmad, an activist from the nearby city of Hama, and the Observatory said airstrikes were also launched around Zaara on Friday, where clashes were still underway.

Syria's state news agency SANA said government warplanes struck Nusra Front strongholds in Idlib province and Hama, killing more than 30 militants.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters in Washington that initial reports of the violence in Zaara were "very, very troubling," and indicated it was based on "religious affiliation." But he said it was not yet clear who was responsible.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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