AMMAN, JORDAN - Russian-backed Syrian forces struck a cluster of towns in the northwestern province of Idlib on Wednesday, shattering a cease-fire along with civilian hopes that a U.N. vote reauthorizing cross-border aid might bring quiet and relief.
"I was in town to take my son to the clinic. Then Russian warplanes bombed a site just 500 meters away," said Ahlam Alrasheed, an Arabic-language teacher who runs a women's center funded by the Christian charity group World Vision in Idlib. "The explosion killed five civilians, and we fled before the doctor could examine my son.
Orient TV, a Syrian opposition channel, reported that Russian warplanes and Syrian government artillery units started violating the cease-fire Saturday, beginning with the Idlib countryside and the town of Maarat al-Nuaman, south of the Turkish border.
"At least 10 civilians were killed, including our volunteer, Shadi al-Asaad, when airstrikes targeted the public market and industrial area of the city. Our search-and-rescue operations will continue," said Khaled Khatib, spokesman for the Syria Civil Defense, popularly known as the White Helmets.
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