The death toll from Russian and Assad regime airstrikes Monday morning on two marketplaces in the Idlib, Syria de-escalation zone rose to 38 civilians, according to the White Helmets civil defense agency.
Russian jets struck the marketplace in the city of Maarat Al-Numan in the northern Idlib province, killing 31 civilians so far, including a White Helmets volunteer, sources from the civil defense agency told Anadolu Agency.
Assad regime warplanes, meanwhile, struck another market in Saraqib in rural Idlib, local sources in the field told Anadolu Agency. The regime airstrike left at least seven civilians dead and dozens of others wounded, the sources added.
According to an Anadolu Agency correspondent, Russian and regime warplanes also carried out attacks on the town of Bidama and the villages of Talmenes and Al-Kabina.
The Russian Defense Ministry, however, denied that its forces had targeted any marketplace, saying that Russian warplanes had not carried out any missions in the area.
Monday's deaths bring the toll to 55 in the past 24 hours, as 17 civilians were killed in Russian airstrikes in the same de-escalation zone on Sunday.
Turkey and Russia agreed last September to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
The Syrian regime, however, has consistently broken the terms of the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the de-escalation zone.
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in early 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected severity.
* Writing by Mahmoud Barakat and Elena TeslovaAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.