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Syria: Seven killed in Russian air strikes on Idlib province

War monitor says strikes came in response to opposition drone attacks over past week
Smoke rises from a building following a reported Russian air strike on Syria's northwestern rebel-held Idlib province, on 25 June 2023 (AFP)

At least seven people have died following Russian air strikes in Syria's Idlib province, a war monitor said on Sunday.

"Four civilians were killed in Jisr al-Shughur and three rebel fighters were killed nearby by Russia air strikes," Rami Abdurrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), told AFP.

He said that at least 25 civilians were also wounded in the strikes on the opposition-held territory and that the death toll was likely to rise.

SOHR said the Russian strikes came in response to rebel drone attacks over the past week that killed four civilians, including two children.

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Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in Syria since war broke out in 2011, many of them civilians, and millions have been internally and externally displaced, with many becoming refugees, predominantly in the Middle East and Europe. 

After opposition gains in the early years of the war, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was able to turn the tide with Russian and Iranian backing, and opposition forces are now in control of only portions of the northern part of the country.

The last pocket of armed opposition to the regime includes large areas of Idlib province and parts of the neighbouring Aleppo, Hama and Latakia provinces.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, headed by ex-members of Syria's former al-Qaeda franchise, is the dominant group in the area, but other rebel groups are also active there with varying degrees of Turkish backing.

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