Syrian and Russian air attack on Idlib school worst since war began, says UN
Airstrikes in rebel-held Idlib province on Wednesday were possibly the deadliest attack on a school since the Syria war began, a top UN official has said, describing the incident as an “outrage” and a possible war crime, The Guardian reported.
The strikes by Syrian or Russian warplanes killed at least 35 people, most of them schoolchildren, rescue workers and a monitoring group have said.
“This is a tragedy. It is an outrage. And if deliberate, it is a war crime,” said Unicef’s executive director, Anthony Lake.
“This latest atrocity may be the deadliest attack on a school since the war began more than five years ago,” he added. “Children lost forever to their families … teachers lost forever to their students … one more scar on Syria’s future. When will the world’s revulsion at such barbarity be matched by insistence that this must stop?”
Wednesday’s raids hit a residential area and a school in Hass village, the Syrian civil defence rescue workers’ network said on its Facebook account.
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Syria’s civil war pits the president, Bashar al-Assad – backed by Russia, Iran and Shia Muslim militias from Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan – against an array of mostly Sunni Muslim rebel groups, including some backed by Turkey, Gulf monarchies and the US.
A report on Syrian state TV quoted a military source saying a number of militants had been killed when their positions were targeted in Hass, but made no mention of a school.
Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, said: “It’s horrible. I hope we were not involved. It’s the easiest thing for me to say no, but I’m a responsible person, so I need to see what my ministry of defence is going to say.”
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