Regime air raids kill 9 civilians in northwest Syria: Monitor

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Regime airstrikes on Tuesday killed nine civilians in opposition-held northwest Syria the target of months of regime and Russian bombardment, a war monitor said.

Three children were among the nine killed outside Maaret al-Numan, a town located in a southern strip of Idlib province, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The death toll is expected to rise due to critical wounds sustained by some other victims, according to the Britain-based monitoring group.

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 fire by opposition forces, according to the Observatory.

Regime forces have also been locked in battle with extremists and allied opposition forces on the edges of the bastion, which is held by Syrias 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 extremist groups and opposition 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 opposition backer Turkey.

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