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Apparent Russian raids kill 11 in Syria’s Idlib: monitor

Beirut: Nine people, including a child, were killed in strikes on areas in the town of Maaret al-Numan, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Another two women were killed in Saraqib in the same province, the Britain-based monitor said.

It said both sets of raids were believed to have been carried out by Russian planes participating in an aerial campaign Moscow launched in Syria on September 30.

The Observatory relies on a network of sources on the ground and determines whether strikes were carried out by Syrian, Russian or US-led coalition aircraft based on the location of the raids and the types of planes involved.

Idlib province fell from government control earlier this year and is held largely by the Army of Conquest rebel alliance that includes Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front.

The alliance has been targeted by Russian aircraft and Syrian ground troops just across the provincial border in neighbouring Hama province.

Elsewhere today, at least 10 people were killed in Syrian government air strikes on a town held by the Islamic State group in northern Aleppo province.

A woman and child were among the dead in the strikes on Al-Bab, which has been held by IS since early 2014, the Observatory said.

Another four people, including a child, were killed in rebel fire on the government-held area of Aleppo city, the monitor said.

Aleppo city was once Syria’s economic hub, but it has been ravaged by war and divided between government control in the west and rebel control in the east since shortly after fighting there began in mid-2012.

Government planes regularly bombard the eastern part of the city and rebels fire rockets into the west.

South of the city, meanwhile, government troops backed by Russian air strikes seized several villages from rebel forces, state news agency SANA said.

It reported the army had taken three villages south of Aleppo, with the Observatory confirming the advance.

Syrian government troops have launched several ground offensives against rebel forces since Russia began its bombing campaign.

So far, the offensives have registered only modest advances, though the Russian strikes have reportedly boosted morale among government troops.