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Air strikes kill school children in Syria’s Idlib

Air strikes, believed to be carried out by Russian planes, hit civilian targets in village of Hass, including a school

Published: Updated:

At least 26 civilians, including children, were killed when air strikes hit a school and the surrounding area in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, a monitoring group said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday that air strikes, believed to be carried out by Russian planes, targeted the village of Hass, including the school complex.

“The dead children are students and the planes are believed to be Russian,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Observatory.

Idlib is the main Syrian opposition stronghold, though radical groups also have a large presence there. It has regularly been hit by Syrian and Russian warplanes as well as the US-led coalition targeting ISIS militants.

Footage posted by activists on line shows a huge plume of smoke rising from the area of the strikes. Rescuers are seen rushing casualties away along a dusty road lined with destroyed buildings.

A woman’s body is seen being carried on a stretcher while other bodies, covered in cloth and one with only a hat, are lying under shrubs in what could possibly have been a garden among the buildings. Other casualties are seen being ferried in pick-up trucks.

An activist at the scene, Muaz al-Shami, says as many as 10 airstrikes are believed to have hit the residential area.

“I don’t want to go to school anymore,” a young girl says, weeping.