People who fled the violence from Daesh-controlled northern Syrian town of al-Bab arrive in the rebel-held outskirts of the town, Syria February 3, 2017.
People who fled the violence from Daesh-controlled northern Syrian town of al-Bab arrive in the rebel-held outskirts of the town, Syria February 3, 2017.

Air strikes have killed at least 12 in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Friday.

Unidentified warplanes have shelled positions of the Jund al-Aqsa militant group in the southeast of Idlib city, near the village of Sarmin, the Britain-based war monitoring group said.

It said that whether those killed had been from Jund al-Aqsa is not clear as they could be from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (Liberation of the Levant Committee), which is an umbrella of several factions including Al Qaeda's former Syria branch.

Raqqa offensive

On Saturday, an alliance of US-backed militias said it had begun a new phase of its campaign against the Daesh-held city of Raqqa and aimed to complete its encirclement.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, which is led by the YPG, considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, said in a statement the action was being undertaken with "increasing support from the (US-led) international coalition forces through guaranteeing air cover for our forces' advances, or via the help provided by their special teams to our forces on the battle ground."

TRT World's Kilmeny Duchardt, who is in Gaziantep, near the Turkey-Syria border, has the latest.

Russian embassy shelled

Also, Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement that its embassy in the Syrian capital of Damascus was shelled on Thursday and Friday but no one was hurt.

The ministry said Russia will continue its "uncompromising fight with terrorists in Syria."

Daesh targets bombed

On Saturday, the Turkish military said in a statement that it hit 59 Daesh targets and killed 51 terrorists in northern Syria.

Turkish forces have surrounded the Daesh-controlled town of al-Bab for weeks as part of an operation that has been going on for more than five months.

Four of those killed were so-called emirs, or local commanders, the Turkish military said, adding that its jets destroyed 56 buildings and three command control centres in the al-Bab and Bzagah regions.

Coalition forces also conducted eight air strikes in the al-Bab region, destroying two defence positions and two armed vehicles.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies