According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), at least seven civilians were reportedly killed on Friday in air strikes carried out by Russian warplanes on different towns in the countryside around the northern Syrian city of Idlib.
The Russian strikes on the village of Belyon in Jabal al Zawiyah are said to have killed at least four people including a child and a woman. Several other civilians were wounded in the attacks and some of them are in a critical condition.
The Britain-based NGO reported that the same warplanes had conducted other raids on the villages of al-Rakaya, Kafr Sejneh and other areas of Al-Hbyt, where at least three civilians were killed and others wounded. According to Reuters, for the third day Russian air strikes in Syria targeted opposition-held areas rather than ISIS-held territories as Russia claims.
Russian jets began bombing territories held by Syrian opposition forces in Hama, Homs and Idlib on Wednesday just hours after Russian lawmakers unanimously approved military action in Syria.
Further concern was raised when Syria’s main political opposition leader Khaled Khoja claimed Wednesday’s assault on the towns of Talbisa, Rastan, Zaafaraniya and Makramiya and Ghanto in the suburbs of Homs killed at least 36 civilians, including five children.
The death toll from the conflict in Syria has reached 300,000 and the refugee flux from Syria into Europe countries has been described by the UN high commissioner for refugees as the largest in a generation.
The war in Syria started in 2011 in the form of anti-government peaceful demonstrations, but descended into a civil war between five main factions - the regime, the opposition, the Al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, ISIS, and the People's Protection Units (YPG) in the Kurdish dominated north of the country.
Iran has backed Syrian President Bashar al Assad since the beginning of the conflict as well as the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah which mainly operates in southern Syria close to the border with Lebanon.