By Esref Musa and Burak Karacaoglu
Four civilians were killed on Tuesday when Russian fighter jets conducted a series of airstrikes in northern Syria, according to local civil-defense officials.
Both Russia and the Assad regime have continued to carry out fierce airstrikes, both in central Idlib and in rural areas, Mustafa Haj Youssef, head of the White Helmets civil-defense agency in Idlib, told Anadolu Agency.
“Four civilians lost their lives due to airstrikes carried out by Russian warplanes in Idlib’s town of Saraqib and the villages of Termala and Al-Gadfa,” Youssef said.
He went on to note that the bodies of eight other civilians killed two days earlier had been unearthed from the rubble of collapsed structures on Tuesday.
According to civil-defense officials, the death toll is expected to rise further as the airstrikes continue.
Over the course of the last week, dozens of civilians have been killed in Idlib as Russian and regime warplanes target residential areas and refugee camps.
Notably, Idlib falls within a network of de-escalation zones -- endorsed by Turkey, Russia and Iran -- in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
Controlled largely by armed anti-regime groups, Idlib has remained the target of intense airstrikes for the last two months. In January alone, 211 civilians were killed and another 1,447 injured.
Syria remains locked in a devastating conflict that began in 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with disproportionate force and unexpected ferocity.