White Helmets sources say the dead include three children. More than 470 civilians have perished in regime and Russian bombardment in Idlib de-escalation zone despite a deal against acts of aggression in northwestern opposition bastion.

A White Helmets member reacts as his comrades clear debris while searching for bodies or survivors in a collapsed building following a regime air strike in the village of Saraqib in Syria's northwestern Idlib province, on June 22, 2019.
A White Helmets member reacts as his comrades clear debris while searching for bodies or survivors in a collapsed building following a regime air strike in the village of Saraqib in Syria's northwestern Idlib province, on June 22, 2019. (AFP)

At least five civilians were killed in air strikes carried out by regime forces in northern Syria's de-escalation zones, according to sources with the White Helmets civil defence agency on Sunday.

The attacks targeted the city of Kafr Nabl and the villages of Kansafra Bidama, Josef, Kafr Battikh, Sufuhon, Ablin and Maraand in Idlib province.

Those killed, included three children, who were targeted in Josef village, the sources said.

Turkey and Russia agreed last September to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression would be expressly prohibited.

Regime breaks deal

The Syrian regime, however, has consistently broken the terms of the ceasefire, launching frequent attacks inside the de-escalation zone.

The Idlib region of about three million people is supposed to be protected by the buffer zone deal, but the rebel and militant-run enclave has come under mounting bombardment by the regime and its ally, Russia, since late April.

The violence has forced around 330,000 people to flee their homes and hit 23 health centres, according to the UN.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in early 2011 when the Bashar al Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected severity.

The conflict running in its eighth year has killed more than 400,000 people and displaced millions.

Source: AFP