Syrian government forces on Monday shelled a rebel-held village in northwestern Syria, killing four students who were on their way to school.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that the killed students were all boys under the age of 18.
SOHR said that the shelling targeted the village of Maaret al-Naasan in Idlib province, the country’s last major opposition stronghold and home to 3 million people, many of them internally displaced by the civil war that began in 2011, according to a war monitor.
SOHR did not provide further details but said the shelling came after Russian warplanes conducted strikes on other parts of Idlib.
Russian warplanes have continued to conduct airstrikes in Idlib, targeting suspected insurgent positions, as well as in central Syria, where sleeper cells of the Islamic State group are active, the Observatory added.
“The number of Russian strikes has dropped since late February, after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine,” SOHR said in a statement.
Russia joined the Syrian conflict in September 2015, helping to tip the balance of power in favor of President Bashar Assad’s forces.
Syria’s 11-year conflict has killed nearly half a million people and displaced half the country’s pre-war population of 23 million.
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