Syrian regime artillery shells struck a village in the last opposition enclave in the country on Thursday, killing seven members of the same family, including four children, rescue workers and a war monitor said.
The shelling is part of an ongoing military escalation in the area in northwestern Syria, which had been under a cease-fire sponsored by Russia and Turkey since last year. So far it is unclear what caused the escalation, which prior to the attack had already killed at least 17 children this month, according to figures confirmed by the UN children's agency, UNICEF.
The rescue workers in opposition areas, known as the White Helmets, said the shells landed in the village of Ibleen in southern Idlib province. A mother and her four children were among the dead pulled out from under the rubble of a destroyed house. Seven other people were injured, according to the group.
The Associated Press quoted Rami Abdurrahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, as saying that the children's grandfather and uncle were also among the killed. He said the father was injured in the attack.
According to the Observatory’s records, 21 people, including 11 children and six women, have been killed in regime strikes on the rebel enclave since Saturday.