At least 26 civilians, including children, were killed when air strikes hit a school in Syria

At least 26 civilians, including children, were killed when air strikes hit a school in Syria October 26, 2016

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

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.

The raids hit the village around 11:30am (08:30 GMT), an activist with the opposition Idlib Media Centre, told the AFP news agency.

“One rocket hit the entrance of the school as students were leaving to go home, after the school administration decided to end classes for the day because of the raids,” the activist said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Observatory initially reported two schools had been hit but later clarified that it was a school complex made up of multiple buildings.
‘Death toll likely to rise’

There were fears the death toll could rise further as some of the wounded were reported to be in critical condition, activists said.

A report on Syrian state TV quoted a military source as saying a number of fighters had been killed when their positions were targeted in Hass.

Idlib province is controlled by the Army of Conquest, an alliance of rebel groups including the Fateh al-Sham Front, which changed its name from al-Nusra Front after breaking off ties with Al-Qaeda earlier this year.

The province has come under increasing bombardment in recent weeks, according to the Observatory.

Syrian government forces and their Russian allies have been criticised by rights groups for indiscriminate attacks on civilian infrastructure.

On Monday, more than 80 human rights and aid organisations, including Human Rights Watch, CARE International and Refugees International, urged UN member states to drop Russia from the Geneva-based Human Rights Council over its military campaign in Syria.

More than 300,000 people have been killed since Syria’s conflict erupted in March 2011.

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