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Air strikes 'kill 23' in Syria's Idlib

Do Not UseDo Not Use 31/05/2016
Members of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and Civil Defence help a wounded victim into the back of an ambulance following Russian air strikes that targeted many areas in Idlib, Syriam, on 31 May: A wounded victim is rescued following overnight air strikes on Idlib © AFP A wounded victim is rescued following overnight air strikes on Idlib

At least 23 people have been killed by air strikes on the rebel-held city of Idlib, in north-western Syria, activists say.

Civilians and civil defence members look for survivors at a site damaged after air strikes on the Syrian rebel-held city of Idlib: Rescue teams worked through the night searching for casualties © Reuters Rescue teams worked through the night searching for casualties

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Russian aircraft targeted various positions overnight.

Medical staff treat a wounded victim at a hospital following air strikes that targeted Idlib on 31 May: Some of the wounded were taken to local hospitals for treatment © AFP Some of the wounded were taken to local hospitals for treatment

Turkey also blamed Russia and put the death toll at more than 60. Russia has denied any involvement.

Idlib city and the province of the same name are a stronghold of groups including al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.

The Nusra Front is excluded from a partial cessation of hostilities brokered by the US and Russia in February to make way for a resumption of peace talks.

Children killed

The Syrian Observatory said the attacks hit several residential neighbourhoods, and areas near a hospital and a public garden.

There were seven children among the dead, it added. Dozens of other people were wounded.

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However, a spokesman for Russia's Defence Ministry, Igor Konashenkov, denied any Russian involvement.

"Russian planes did not carry out any combat missions, to say nothing of any air strikes, in the province of Idlib," a statement said.

The Turkish foreign ministry, in a statement, called on the international community to act swiftly against what it called the "indefensible" crimes of the Russian and the Syrian administration.

Russia is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has carried out an air campaign that it says targets "terrorists".

Turkey has strongly criticised the Russian operations in Syria and opposes the Assad government.

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