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Government, Russian attacks kill 12 civilians in northwest Syria: Monitor

At least 544 civilians have been killed and more than 2,000 people wounded since Russian-led assault began two months ago
Syrian amputee with iced bodies of civilians reportedly killed in government air strikes in northern Idlib province on Saturday (AFP)

Bombardments by government forces and their Russian allies on Sunday killed 12 civilians, including three children, in an opposition bastion in northwestern Syria, a war monitor said.

At least 544 civilians have been killed and more than 2,000 people wounded since a Russian-led assault on the last rebel bastion in northwestern Syria began two months ago, rights groups and rescuers said on Saturday, according to Reuters.

Idlib, a region of about three million people, has come under increasing fire by the government and its ally Russia since late April, despite a months-old international truce deal, AFP reported.

The opposition bastion, which is administered by Syria's former al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, includes most of Idlib province as well as slivers of the adjacent Aleppo, Hama and Latakia provinces.

Seven civilians, including a young girl, were killed in government artillery fire and air strikes in the north of Hama province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Four more, including a man and his young son, lost their lives when aircraft struck near the town of Maaret al-Noman in Idlib province, the Britain-based monitor said.

A third child was killed by government rocket fire on farmland in Idlib's village of Jadariya.

On Friday and Saturday, strikes by the Damascus government and its Russian ally killed 20 civilians, including six children.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), which monitors casualties and briefs various UN agencies, said the 544 civilians killed in the hundreds of attacks carried out by Russian jets and the Syrian army include 130 children. Another 2,117 people have been wounded.

Health facilities bombed

"The Russian military and its Syrian ally are deliberately targeting civilians with a record number of medical facilities bombed," Fadel Abdul Ghany, chairman of SNHR, told Reuters.

The United Nations says 25 health facilities in the region have been hit.

Russia and its Syrian army ally deny their jets indiscriminately hit civilian areas with cluster munitions and incendiary weapons, which residents in opposition areas say are meant to paralyse everyday life.

Moscow says its forces and the Syrian army are fending off terror attacks by al-Qaeda militants whom they say hit populated, government-held areas, and it accuses rebels of wrecking the ceasefire deal agreed last year between Turkey and Russia.

Syria's war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.