War monitors and rescue organizations blamed the government for the attack; the death toll was one of the highest since the ceasefire took effect in March last year.
A war monitor and a rescue organization said that at least eight civilians, including six children, were killed by Russian-backed Syrian government forces in Idlib on Saturday.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that the attack also injured 16 people in several locations in the Jabal al-Zawiya area south of the stronghold.
It said it killed five members of the same family in Ibrin village, two children in Barun village and another child in Barshun village.
The Syrian Civil Defense, a voluntary search and rescue organization, also known as the White Helmets, conducted operations in areas controlled by the Syrian rebels and confirmed the death toll.
“Russia and regime forces carried out a terrible massacre in the #Idlib countryside this morning, where 8 civilians… were killed,” the organization Say Added on Twitter that search and rescue work is still in progress.
In Ibrin, an AFP photographer saw the family’s body wrapped in wool and cotton blankets and taken to a medical clinic.
He said that the nurse and others were going to bury the body, wash the body of a blood-stained little boy, and then wrap it in gauze.
Picture from Jabal Al-Zawiya. A family was killed by targeting their house with Russian shells. pic.twitter.com/7syaLyNdxK
— IDLIB PLUS (@IdlibPlus) July 3, 2021
Translation: The picture is from Jabal al-Zawiya, where a whole family was killed in a Russian air strike.
Saturday’s death toll was one of the highest since the international ceasefire took effect in March last year to protect rebel-controlled fortresses from government attacks.
Most of the Idlib enclave is controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an armed group that includes former members of the former al-Qaida organization in Syria.
However, under the mediation of government ally Russia and opposition supporter Turkey, violations of the ceasefire agreement are not uncommon because government forces continue to exert pressure on the rebel enclave.
According to SOHR, in the past few weeks, Russian warplanes have attacked the southern part of Idlib along with government shelling.
At the same time, hundreds of humanitarian workers formed a human chain in northern Idlib on Friday, urging the international community to keep the only border crossing open to provide assistance to areas controlled by the rebels.
“Humanitarian aid is a right, not a privilege,” it reads on a sign held by rescuers, while others stand in a row on the road, so that the words “Save Lifeline” can be seen from the air.
The authorization of the United Nations to enter Syria from Turkey through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing will expire on July 10.
Aid organizations worry that Russia may prevent the UN Security Council from extending its vote for another year.
Wassim Bakir of Banafsaj, a Syrian charity, said that if cross-border aid is blocked, it will be a “humanitarian disaster”.
The rebel-controlled province of Idlib is now facing a raging coronavirus pandemic, and most of its medical facilities are in ruins. Nearly 3 million people live in the area, most of whom are internally displaced.
Since the Syrian war began in 2011 with the brutal suppression of peaceful demonstrations, nearly 500,000 people have died.