At least five members of a family have been killed and several other people wounded in Russian air raids in northwestern Syria, according to a witness and the Syrian Civil Defence.
The civil defence, also known as the white helmets – a group of volunteer rescuers operating in rebel-held areas of the country, said several air raids hit the Brouma Farms, north of Idlib city, on Thursday.
The dead included a couple, their two children aged one and two, and their cousin, who was eight years old, the civil defence said. The family had been displaced from another part of Syria.
“They were agricultural labourers,” said Omar Ali Basha, who worked with the family on the poultry farm. “The family was displaced from Aleppo countryside and have been working with us for eight months”.
“It took about an hour to remove the dead from under the rubble, rush the wounded to the hospital, and evacuate the area,” he said. “We faced difficulties because of Russian reconnaissance planes encircling the area.”
“Since June, they have struck civilian areas almost daily, even areas considered relatively safe have not been spared,” Moussa al-Zaidan, Syrian Civil Defence spokesperson, told Al Jazeera.
“We have responded to over 700 attacks, and documented over 150 people, of which 60 were children.”
Al-Zaidan said the Syrian and Russian militaries were committing “systematic war crimes and targeting densely populated areas to displaced civilians”.
The air raids come amid escalating tensions in the last rebel stronghold in Syria’s northwest, where a truce reached in March last year has been repeatedly violated.
The truce, negotiated between Turkey – which sides with Syria’s opposition – and Russia – the Syrian government’s main international backer – ended a crushing government offensive on northwestern Syria.
The area is the last rebel enclave in the country and is home to hundreds of thousands of displaced people.
Syria’s government has pledged to restore control over the territory lost during the 10-year conflict, which began in March 2011.
Over the past 10 years, since Syria’s 2011 uprising that escalated into a brutal, multifaceted war, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, millions forced from their homes, and the country’s infrastructure destroyed.