At least 23 people were killed in Russian air strikes overnight in the Syrian rebel-held city of Idlib, the heaviest bombardment there since a cessation of hostilities was agreed in February, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The Observatory said the air strikes targeted a number of positions in the city, one of them next to a hospital. Seven children were among the dead, Observatory Director Rami Abdulrahman said. The toll was likely to rise.
Rescue workers in Idlib worked through the night searching for casualties, finding some survivors including a child under the rubble of destroyed buildings, the Civil Defense in Idlib said on its Facebook page.
Idlib city and the province by the same name is a stronghold of rebel groups including the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.
The Russian air force deployed to Syria last year to support President Bashar al-Assad in the war with rebels seeking to end his rule.
Russia claims to be targeting ISIS , but a large majority of Russia’s military strikes in Syria have not been aimed at the Islamic State group or jihadists tied to al-Qaida, and have instead targeted the moderate Syrian opposition, the US State Department has been saying
“Greater than 90% of the strikes that we’ve seen them take to date have not been against Isil or al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists,” State Department spokesman John Kirby was quoted as saying .