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Syria: Ten soldiers killed as missile hits military bus

Hours after the bus attack, eyewitnesses saw Russian jets targeting rebel-held areas in northwestern Aleppo in the latest flare-up near Turkish border
Syrian elite soldiers take part in Russian military training on 24 September, 2019 (AFP)
Syrian elite soldiers take part in Russian military training on 24 September, 2019 (AFP)

Ten soldiers were killed and nine others wounded when a rocket hit a military bus in northwest Syria on Friday, state news agency Sana reported.

A Syrian military source said the attack took place at 9.30am on Friday, when “terrorists targeted a military bus with anti-tank guided missile in the Anjara area” in the western countryside of Aleppo, according to Sana. No further details were provided.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which monitors the ongoing war in Syria, said the attack was carried out by opposition fighters, and that the death toll was likely to rise.

The men killed in the attack west of Aleppo were pro-government fighters from the towns of Nubl and Zahraa, said a pro-Damascus military source and the Observatory.

Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, on Friday confirmed in a public speech the death of ten members of the Syrian National Defence Forces (NDF) in the bus attack. Hezbollah has intervened in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Rebel group video

On Friday, the Syrian rebel group Ahrar al-Sham distributed a video on social media, which purportedly showed the moment when a rocket hit a military bus that the group said belonged to pro-Assad militias west of Aleppo.

Hours after the bus attack, Russian jets were seen bombarding rebel-held areas in northwestern Aleppo, according to SOHR sources. The air strikes left several people injured, while the Russian jets are still hovering in the region’s airspace, the Observatory said.

Northwestern Syria is the last major stronghold of insurgents fighting the Assad government in the country's 11-year-long war. Turkish forces, which back some rebel groups, are deployed in the rebel-held area.

The main frontlines in the conflict, which spiralled out of protests against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011, have been largely frozen for several years.

Russia deployed its air force to Syria in 2015 in support of the Syrian government.