Scores killed in Russian air strikes in Syria’s Idlib

At least 40 people killed in Saturday’s strikes on Maarat al-Numaan town, Syria Civil Defence tells Al Jazeera.

Russia air strikes Idlib
The death toll in the latest Russian air strikes in Idlib province is expected to rise, volunteer rescuers said [Syria Civil Defence]

Scores of people have been killed and over 100 others injured in Russian air strikes in Syria’s Idlib province, Al Jazeera has learnt.

The volunteer-run Syria Civil Defence told Al Jazeera that Saturday’s Russian air strikes targeted the town of Maarat al-Numaan, 290km north of the capital, killing at least 43 people and injuring at least 150 others.

“Our volunteers are still in the area that was targeted by the air strikes. They are still trying to help those injured and affected by the attack,” the coordinator for the Idlib Syria Civil Defence told Al Jazeera.

“Many of those injured are in very serious conditions, the death toll is expected to rise,” he added.

In another attack in Idlib province, the Syria Civil Defence said at least three people were killed and four others were injured in air strikes that targeted a school and a fire department in Ariha.

Voices from Syria: ‘The safest place is the frontline’

Known also as the White Helmets, the Syria Civil Defence is a group of volunteer rescuers formed in 2013 that now numbers more than 2,700 volunteers.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at 39, adding that the air strikes targeted a court and a prison in Maarat al-Numaan.

Anas Maarawi, a media activist in Idlib, told Al Jazeera that the attacks targeted a court and a prison controlled by al-Nusra Front in Maarat al-Numaan.

“The first floor of the court was targeted in addition to a prison. We are getting reports that at least 53 have been killed in these air strikes,” Maarawi said.

Syria ready to attend Geneva

In another development, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid alMuallem told the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, on Saturday that Syrian regime was ready to attend the talks in Geneva expected on January 25.

SANA, Syria’s state news agency, said that Muallem stressed the necessity of having a list of the opposition groups who are going to attend the talks.

Syrian opposition: No ceasefire unless Assad goes

Muallem said that efforts for a political solution and the UN Security Council’s latest, relevant resolutions are linked to the credibility of the efforts of fighting terrorism, including forcing the countries which support terrorism to stop backing it, SANA reported on its website.

The conflict in Syria, which has killed over 250,000 people according to the UN, will mark its fifth year in March.

The Syrian Observatory said last week that more than 55,000 people, including almost 30,000 civilians, have been killed in Syria during the year 2015 alone.

Source: Al Jazeera