9 children, teachers killed as Assad missiles strike schools, residential areas in Idlib
The warplanes bombed on Tuesday afternoon a temporary accommodation center for IDPs and civilian homes in Maaret Masrin city, Binnish city and Idlib city center, killing 17 civilian and injuring 68 others, including women and children.
On Tuesday morning, three teachers, including two women, Soad Talja, Samira Badwi and Hani Mheimid, and a female student, Doaa Rahnoon, were killed and seven other teachers were injured, some of them in a critical condition, in al-Baraem school.
Assad heavy artillery shells in parallel with missiles loaded with cluster munitions targeted five other schools and two kindergartens in Idlib city, injuring students, according to Free Education Directorate in Idlib.
The missiles appeared to have dispersed cluster bombs.
At least three missiles did not explode in al-Manahel and al-Hurriya kindergartens.
The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) said 10 schools in total - including two nurseries - and the Idlib Central Hospital were hit by airstrikes and ground attacks.
Three nurses and a doctor were injured after Idlib Central Hospital was hit by an airstrike that heavily damaged the facility, the organization added.
"The hospital, which served 11,500 patients monthly, was forced to shut down given the safety risks posed by targeted airstrikes," UOSSOM said.
Heba Morayef, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Regional Director, condemned the strikes, saying: "Schools should be safe places for children to learn and play, even in a conflict zone.
"Targeting schools and kindergartens being used for civilian purposes is a war crime."
In January, five children and four adults have been killed by a missile that hit a school and a camp for displaced people in the town of Sarmin in Idlib countryside.
Aid agencies have repeatedly warned that attacking Idlib puts the lives of 3 million civilians in danger and could trigger the worst humanitarian disaster of a war that has lasted nearly a decade.
Originally home to about a million people, the province’s population has been swollen with civilians displaced by Assad-Russian forcibly displacement elsewhere in the country.
The current humanitarian crisis in Idlib has been described as the worst since the start of the conflict in 2011.
The UN has previously warned that a full-scale battle for Idlib could result in a "bloodbath". Last week, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for an immediate ceasefire.