The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations said in a statement that at least 21 civilians, including nine children and three teachers, were killed when 10 schools and a hospital were hit by “airstrikes and ground attacks” in Idlib province in north-western Syria on Tuesday.
Children and women are among more than 80 civilians “seriously injured,” the medical aid group said.
Three nurses and a doctor have been injured after an airstrike hit Idlib Central Hospital that severely damaged the facility, the Geneva-based organization, it also said.
“In view of the safety risks posed by targeted airstrikes, the hospital, which served 11,500 patients monthly, was forced to shut down,” the group said.
The Syrian government said its forces seized several towns and villages in the province of Idlib’s southern countryside on Tuesday after “intensive anti-terrorist operations by army units,” reported state-run news agency SANA.
More than 832,000 people have fled Syria’s last opposition-held territory in the past two months, following a relentless air campaign and a swift ground offensive by the Syrian regime and its Russian backers, according to recent UN figures.
Tens of thousands remain on the move. Close to 700,000 of those newly displaced are women and children, the UN said.
But Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in his address to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday that “capitulation of terrorists” would be a ceasefire in Idlib.
“The desire to justify the atrocities of radical and terrorist groups, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, prevails in the position of some of our colleagues,” Lavrov said. “It’s hard to explain the exhortations about the possibility of reaching ceasefire deals with bandits otherwise, as happens when discussing Idlib.
“This isn’t a human rights concern, it’s the capitulation to terrorists and even a reward for their activities.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, whom Lavrov met Monday to discuss Syria, called for an immediate ceasefire last week in the Idlib region to stop the “man-made humanitarian nightmare” facilitated by Syrian government ground offensives, Russian airstrikes, and clashes between Turkish and Syrian forces.