Opposition: Airstrikes in northern Syria kill 10 militants
Wednesday, January 11, 2017 11:41 AM
BEIRUT (AP) -- Airstrikes in the northern Syrian province of Idlib killed at least 10 suspected al-Qaida-linked militants in Syria on Wednesday, the latest in a spate of targeted attacks against the group, activists said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 10 were killed when missiles struck two vehicles and three motorcycles in the airstrike in Saraqib, in the rebel-stronghold province of Idlib. The Observatory said it was not clear if all killed were members of Fatah al-Sham Front, the powerful al-Qaida-affiliate in Syria. The group said militants from other groups may be among those killed, including non-Syrians.
Idlib Media Center, a local opposition group, said the airstrikes killed 15, all but one were member of Fatah al-Sham. One of the killed was a member of the local police, according to the center. Footage posted by the center and by the opposition Qasioun news agency shows two badly mangled vehicles as fire fighters clear the area and wash the streets from the airstrike aftermath. The vehicles were traveling on a highway south of Saraqib.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.
The U.S. has killed some of al-Qaida's most senior commanders in Syria over the past two years in airstrikes, and has recently also increased its targeting of Islamic State militants in the country. The Syrian government and its ally Russia have also targeted militants in Syria. On Friday, a senior member of Fatah al-Sham was killed in an airstrike in Idlib.
A cease-fire across Syria since Dec. 30 doesn't include Fatah al-Sham, the government says. The cease-fire was brokered by Russia and Turkey.
Also on Wednesday, airstrikes resumed on a Damascus suburb despite the cease-fire, killing at least one woman and injuring several others, opposition activists said.
At least six airstrikes Wednesday hit villages in al-Marj in the eastern Ghouta suburb, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Syrian Civil Defense in Damascus suburbs. Since the cease-fire came into effect on Dec. 30, fighting has raged in the area as government troops attempted to gain ground. The Observatory said it was the first time airstrikes were launched there since the cease-fire. The government is often suspected of carrying airstrikes in the fertile area where it has in recent months been encroaching on opposition fighters, amid a tightening siege on the eastern Ghouta suburbs.
Fighting has raged in and around Damascus despite the cease-fire, including in the water-rich Barada Valley. The government and opposition groups exchanged blame for violating the truce.