By Burak Karacaoglu and Esref Musa
Russian and Syrian regime forces carried out air attacks on hospitals and mosques in the northwestern province of Idlib, according to the Syrian Civil Defense on Monday.
Mustafa Haj Yousuf, head of Civil Defense units in Idlib, told Anadolu Agency: “Intensive air attacks on Idlib, which has been conducting for weeks, targeted a hospital in Maarat al-Numan area and three mosques in the city center last night.”
He noted that the attacks were aimed at destroying the psychological strength of civilians, “However, immunity should be at the high level at hospitals and places of worship.”
Health Minister of the Syrian Interim Government Mohammed Firas al-Jundi also confirmed to Anadolu Agency that Maaretinuman Central Hospital and surrounding area have been targeted with seven air strikes.
“No one has died in the attack carried out by Russian fighter jets, many injured. The hospital went out of service,” said al-Jundi.
In the meantime, the flow of information from the region has slowed because of intense air and missile attacks by the Bashar Assad regime and the Russian forces on the different points of Idlib, making the Civil Defense teams - which are also known as the White Helmets- difficult to continue their search and rescue operation.
Located in northern Syria near the Turkish border, the Idlib province was declared a "de-escalation zone".
Controlled by anti-regime armed groups, the province has been under intense airstrikes for the last two months.
In January alone, 211 civilians were killed and 1,447 wounded.
Syria has been locked in a devastating civil war since March 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
While UN officials say hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, Syrian regime officials say the death toll is closer to 10,000.
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