Published: Mon, August 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Rescue efforts underway in Idlib, Syria

Rescue efforts underway in Idlib, Syria

Dozens of people are still missing, a monitor and correspondents say.

Rescue workers used bulldozers to remove rubble and get people out of two damaged buildings.

"The toll rose after the discovery of new victims under the rubble and the death of some of those who had been wounded", Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.

The group, which has a network of sources throughout Syria, said an arms depot in the basement of the building detonated, causing the entire multi-story structure to collapse. The report could not be independently confirmed.

An explosion killed 36 people Sunday in the Syrian town of Sarmada, near the Turkish border, according to the White Helmets, a Syrian volunteer force.

Most of Idlib is controlled by rebels and HTS, but the Islamic State jihadist group also has sleeper cells in the area.

The explosion tore the facade off the buildings it was beneath, doing disastrous amounts of damage.

HTS controls more than half of Idlib province and is led by militants from Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate.

The air strikes and barrel bombs targeted the key opposition-held province of Idlib and a rebel town in the adjacent province of Aleppo.

While some attacks have been claimed by Daesh, most are the result of infighting since past year between other groups.

The residential building was thought to be storing weapons and ammunition, a war monitor said.

Assad has warned that government forces intend to retake Idlib, after his Russia-backed regime regained control of large parts of rebel-held territory in other parts of Syria.

In recent weeks, the Syrian government and its main ally Russian Federation have stepped up an offensive to defeat rebels holding territory in Syria, capturing a string of villages straddling the southern provinces of Deraa and Quneitra, as they edge closer to a 1974 demilitarised zone with Israel .

Rebels and civilians bussed out of the other three zones when they fell to the regime were taken to Idlib, increasing its population to around 2.5 million people.

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