Death toll in Syrian airstrikes rises to more than 90

IDLIB, Syria, Sept. 11 (UPI) — The death toll has risen to more than 90 in rebel-held Idlib and Aleppo provinces after Syria airstrikes, a monitoring group said Sunday, one day before the start of a cease-fire.

The airstrikes occurred hours after the cease-fire agreed to by the United States and Russia in Syria.

Warplanes hit a market in Idlib on Saturday, killing at least 60 people — including 13 children and 13 women—according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Several people were were in critical condition, the group said.

And least 30 people died in airstrikes in and around Aleppo, the group said.

The cease-fire begins at sundown Monday.

Under terms of the cease-fire, Russia and the U.S. would attempt to ensure the regime and opposition groups stop fighting for seven days.

The truce is nationwide, but violence is still likely in the northwestern province of Idlib because it’s almost entirely under the control of a coalition of rebel groups. That includes Syria Conquest Front, which was formerly known as the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front.

An activist, who asked to be identified as Omar for security reasons, told CNN road closures blocked the Syria Civil Defense teams from reaching victims in Idlib.

“We carried 30 people dead from the ground and we transferred some other 40 injured. Their injuries varied,” Omar said. “Those injured, they were clear and visible on the ground and not hidden behind cars or inside rubble. We carried them and started taking them to field hospitals. This is when the civil defense rescue teams started arriving and carrying and helping the injured as well the ones trapped under the rubble.”‘

“The market was full of shoppers going to buy presents for their kids, they were all civilians,” said Salem Idlibi, a civil defense worker, to Sky News.

Syria’s main opposition group said Saturday it was “cautiously optimistic” about the cease-fire agreement and would bring humanitarian aid to the affected areas.

“We in the Syrian National Coalition are always with any initiative or agreement that aims to protect civilians and end the suffering of the people [especially] in besieged areas,” Anas Abdah, president of Syria’s main political opposition group, told The Wall Street Journal.

Abdah said it was unclear if both sides would stick to the agreement.

The Syrian regime also announced on state-run TV its support of the ceasefire deal Saturday.

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