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Strike near school in Syria's Idlib kills 16 children

Strike near school in Syria's Idlib kills 16 children

The death toll would be one of the highest in a single attack by rebels targeting the capital.

On Tuesday, a rocket fell on a popular residential area across the rebel-held enclave killing at least 40 people, according to medics in government controlled areas.

"IS took full control of Qadam, and 36 government troops and loyalist fighters have been killed", the Britain-based monitoring group said. He also said that only 128 people left on Tuesday Eastern Ghouta through the humanitarian corridor from settlements of Arbil, Saqba and Hazeh.

"Twenty civilians, including 16 children, were killed in an air strike in Kafr Batikh in Idlib province", the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Moscow has previously denied carrying out airstrikes on civilians.

As in other besieged parts of Syria, government forces have pressed the rebels to enter into local cease-fire agreements under which the militants and their families would relocate to other parts of the country.

Over 100 civilians were killed in the last two days of air strikes in Eastern Ghouta with most of the raids on Douma city, the largest population centre with more than 150,000 people still living there.

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The UN refugee agency UNHCR on Tuesday said it is alarmed by a further deepening of the humanitarian crisis in Syria as fierce fighting in Eastern Ghouta, rural Damascus and Afrin in the country's northwest causes massive new displacement. The rescuers said Russian jets were behind the attack.

The capital, the seat of President Bashar Assad's power, has come under increasing attack as government forces continue to pound the rebel-held suburb of eastern Ghouta with military backing from Russian Federation.

It said dozens more were captured or wounded. An offensive close to the border with Iraq has been stalled for weeks as more than 1,500 highly trained Kurdish SDF fighters and commanders headed westward to fight the Turks in Afrin.

The Harasta deal will pile pressure on the two main rebel groups - Failaq al-Rahman in the southern pocket and Jaish al-Islam in the northern enclave - to also reach understandings.

There was no immediate comment from the government on the report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which could not provide casualty figures for the militants.

The defeat in Eastern Ghouta would mark the worst setback for the anti-Assad rebellion since the opposition was driven from eastern Aleppo in late 2016 after a similar campaign of siege, bombing, ground assaults and the promise of safe passage out.