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Report: Russia strikes kill a dozen civilians in Syria

A Syrian opposition watchdog has reported that airstrikes - allegedly by Russia - have killed and wounded civilians. Russia, a staunch ally of President Bashar al-Assad, first began airstrikes in Syria in late September.

On Sunday, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that airstrikes, "probably Russian," had killed at least 18 people and wounded dozens of others in a town in northern Syria.

The airstrikes reportedly hit a market in Ariha, which is held by insurgents, including al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front. According to the Observatory, three buildings were destroyed by the attacks.

Rescue operations were underway, as many remained critically wounded.

Criticism over Russian intervention

Russia, a close ally of embattled President Bashar al-Assad, began airstrikes in Syria in late September. Though the country claims to be fighting the "Islamic State", Russia has been accused of targeting Western-backed rebels seeking to overthrow Assad.

Earlier this month, airstrikes by Russia killed 11 civilians in Idlib province, according to the Observatory.

Syria's civil war began in 2011, and has gone on to claim the lives of some 250,000 people.

blc/mkg (AP, AFP)

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