Published: Tue, January 09, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

Explosion reportedly kills at least 23 people

Explosion reportedly kills at least 23 people

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says a auto bomb was detonated on Sunday evening in Idlib, the capital of a province with the same name.

There are fears that a government offensive could spark large-scale destruction and displacement, with the province bordering Turkey already home to an estimated two million Syrians, including tens of thousands of people who had fled fighting elsewhere in the country. The ministry said three of the armed drones landed outside the base and others detonated when they crashed, while seven drones were shot down.

The siege on Idlib, a large province in northwestern Syria which is dominated by al-Qaeda-linked militants and a hub for civilians, was expected following the defeat of ISIS late past year.

The offensive in the southern parts of Idlib province comes amid intense airstrikes and shelling that have killed 21 people since Sunday, according to the Observatory.

Syrian TV says government forces have reached troops trapped for more than a week by rebels surrounding a military base outside Damascus.

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In other footage, residents are heard screaming as they try to escape heavily damaged buildings, and the injured are seen being laid on stretchers and loaded into the back of vans to be taken away for treatment.

In December 2016, Assad's forces captured rebel-held parts of the city of Aleppo, marking the government's biggest victory since the conflict began.

Brig. Gen. Suheil al-Hassan, also known among his troops as "Tiger", has led elite forces to many victories against insurgents since the conflict began almost seven years ago.

The first-responders Syrian Civil Defense, known as the White Helmets says four children and 11 women were among the 25 killed. The Observatory added that the attack also killed at least 15 insurgents.

The offensive on Idlib - a large province in northwestern Syria packed with civilians and dominated by al-Qaida-linked militants - was expected after the defeat of the Islamic State group late past year.

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