17 Dead In An Airstrike In Northern Syria

Smoke rises behind the ancient castle of the rebel-controlled town of Maaret al-Numan after airstrikes in Idlib province, Syria, September 25,

At least 17 people, mainly children, have been killed in airstrikes outside a school in northern Syria, say Syrian activists.

The Idlib News network said the airstrikes hit as the children gathered outside a school complex in the village of Hass, in northern Idlib, on Wednesday.

The group said most of the casualties are children and there are fears the death toll could rise further as some of the wounded are in a critical condition.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at 22, including 14 children, but said the is likely to rise.

Idlib is the main Syrian opposition stronghold, though radical groups have a large presence there. It has been regularly hit by Syrian and Russian warplanes as well as the US-led coalition targeting Islamic State militants.

Footage posted by activists online shows a huge plume of smoke rising from the area of the strikes.

Rescuers are seen rushing casualties away along a dusty road lined with destroyed buildings.

A woman’s body is seen being carried on a stretcher while other bodies, covered in cloth and one with only a hat, are lying under shrubs in what could possibly have been a garden among the buildings.

Other casualties are seen being ferried in pick-up trucks.

A young girl is also seen in the footage weeping and saying: “I don’t want to go to school anymore.”

An activist at the scene, Muaz al-Shami, said as many as 10 airstrikes are believed to have hit the residential area.

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