Airstrikes in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib have left more than 50 people dead. Most of the victims were civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Syrian White Helmet rescue teams and civilians inspect damage following Sunday's air strike in Maaret al-Numan
Unidentified jets hit three different targets in Idlib province on Sunday, according to the Observatory, which uses local sources to file its reports. Last month, Russia announced the start of a major offensive on the province of Idlib, and the central province of Homs, as part of its campaign in alliance with the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad.
A market in the town of Kafrnabel on the southern edge of Idlib witnessed the highest number of casualties with 26 people, including three children, reported killed. A witness told the AFP news agency that "six strikes hit houses and a crowded local market."
Warplanes, which were reported by local people to be Russian, carried out airstrikes on the town of Maaret al-Numan, also on the southern outskirts of Idlib, the Observatory said.
Earlier on Sunday, airstrikes on Maaret al-Numan and the nearby village of al-Naqir killed two women.
Six civilians were killed in the town of al-Tamana on the outskirts of Idlib, the Observatory reported on Sunday.
The rebel group which was known as the al-Nusra front but now calls itself Jabhat Fatah al-Sham is part of the rebel coalition which largely controls Idlib province.
In November, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russian forces had begun a "major operation" targeting Idlib and Homs provinces.
Aleppo operation continues
Syrian government forces continued their advance in the besieged city of Aleppo as Syrian warplanes, artillery and mortar rounds hit opposition-held eastern areas of the city on Saturday.
Syrian state media said government and allied troops were pushing further into the rebel-held east of Aleppo. Brigadier General Samir Suleiman, the Syrian army spokesman, said the military had regained control of 45 to 50 percent of east Aleppo.
The United Nations has estimated that more than 31,000 people have fled their homes since the start of the latest military offensive.
The German government has pledged an additional 50 million euros ($53.2 million) in funds to various aid organizations, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on a visit to a refugee camp in Lebanon on Friday.
United States Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Rome on Friday in a renewed bid to ease the fighting in Aleppo. Pope Francis also attended the meeting. Meetings are expected to continue on Wednesday.
jm/rc (AFP, dpa)