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Airstrike on Syrian Rebel Base Kills at Least 50

People attend the funeral of fighters killed in an airstrike in the town of Idlib, Syria, October 26, 2020.
People attend the funeral of fighters killed in an airstrike in the town of Idlib, Syria, October 26, 2020.

War monitors say an airstrike on a rebel training camp in northwestern Syria on Monday killed more than 50 Turkish-backed fighters and wounded at least 90.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war in Syria, put the number killed at 78, while a Syrian opposition spokesman had the number of fatalities closer to 50.

The observatory, along with Syrian opposition groups, say the airstrike was carried out by Russia, a Syrian government ally. The strike targeted a military training camp for one of Syria’s largest opposition groups, Failaq al-Sham, in Jabal al-Dweila in northwestern Idlib province — the last rebel enclave in Syria.

The observatory said rescue missions to find survivors were still under way. Youssef Hammoud, a spokesman for Failaq al-Sham, said leaders of the camp were among those killed in the airstrike. The camp is near the border with Turkey.

Naji al-Mustafa, a spokesman for Turkish-backed Syrian rebel group National Front for Liberation, told The Associated Press they will respond to the attack. He called the airstrike a “crime” by Russia and threatened to target government and Russian posts.

Turkey and Russia brokered a truce in Idlib earlier this year to halt a government offensive that displaced hundreds of thousands of people. But the truce remained shaky.

Turkey has long supported Syrian rebel forces in Syria. Russia has negotiated with Ankara to deploy observation teams in the rebel enclave to monitor the truce.

Last week, Turkish troops evacuated one of their largest military bases in the area, which was surrounded by Syrian government troops for months. Syrian opposition fighters said it was part of Turkey’s redeployment of forces in the shrinking enclave.

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