At Least 45 Killed in Syria After U.S.-Russia Agreement


A day of intense airstrikes Saturday on and around the northern city of Aleppo killed at least 45 people, according to opposition activists.

The Aleppo Media Center, an activist collective, said 45 people were killed Saturday, just hours after the new U.S.-Russia agreement was reached to try and end the violence in Syria. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 30 people were killed in Aleppo province and another 39 were killed by airstrikes in neighboring Idlib province.

Contrasting casualty figures are common in the aftermath of large attacks in Syria.

Previous Syrian ceasefires or limited truces have also been preceded by spikes in violence as both government and rebel forces seek to consolidate positions or gain new ground in the final remaining hours of warfare.

Saturday’s violence shows that it might be difficult to implement the U.S.-Russia agreement, as both countries enjoy limited influence on the government and insurgent groups to cease the bombardment.

A ceasefire reached by the two world powers earlier this year and put into effect in late February failed shortly afterward and was followed by months of violence that killed thousands.

Saturday’s air raids were mostly in the northern provinces of Idlib and Aleppo. Aleppo has been the center of violence in Syria in recent months, where some 2,200 people, including some 700 civilians, have been killed since last July according to the Observatory, which tracks violence in Syria through a network of activists on the ground.

The Observatory and the Local Coordination Committees also reported an airstrike in the Damascus suburb of Douma in which the dead included four children.

The Observatory said the deadliest airstrike occurred in the northwestern city of Idlib and struck near the main market. The LCC said the airstrikes were carried out by Russian warplanes, adding that they left a number of civilians dead or wounded.

An amateur video posted online showed wounded people being rushed away as debris filled a street and fires blazed in some shops and apartment buildings. The video appeared genuine and was consistent with other Associated Press reporting of the events.

State media said insurgents shelled government-held neighborhoods in Aleppo, killing one and wounding others. The channel also reported shelling by the Islamic State terror group on the government-held neighborhood in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour, saying it killed nine and wounded 26.