At least 49 civilians, including six children, have been killed in air strikes carried out by government forces on a town in Syria's northwestern Idlib province.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the raid hit a square in the town of Janudiyah on Monday, in the west of the province, which is now almost completely controlled by opposition forces.

"It's a public square, and a lot of people gather there because there are shops," Rami Abdel Rahman, the director of the Syrian Observatory, said.

A video uploaded onto the internet by activists showed a chaotic, smoke-filled scene, with people running past damaged cars, and bodies scattered on the street. Women screamed as men hurriedly covered bodies and pulled wounded people from the rubble before an ambulance arrived.

"My son was killed!" a man screamed. "We need cars!" another man shouted, as a third, covered in blood, sat on the debris.

Janudiyah was a shelter for people displaced from other areas of Idlib province, Abdel Rahman told the AFP news agency.


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Janudiyah has been under opposition control for some time, but much of Idlib has only recently fallen to a rebel alliance that includes al-Qaeda affiliate the Nusra Front.

Janudiyah lies north of Jisr al-Shughur, which fell on April 25, less than a month after the alliance seized the provincial capital Idlib city.

Government forces now hold only a handful of positions in the province.

About 734 civilians were killed by Syrian government strikes, including barrel bombings, across Syria last month, according to activists. That figure included 148 children, and 113 women.

Source: Agencies