Air strike on a rebel training camp in the northwest Syria A spokesman and war observer said that more than 50 Turkish-backed fighters were killed and wounded nearly many, in one of the heaviest strikes against the most powerful opposition groups.
The opposition vowed to respond to Monday’s attack on the Sham Legion, and blamed Russia for the daytime attack. There was no immediate comment from Russia or Turkey, Which has worked together to maintain the ceasefire in the rebel pocket, although it supports opposing parties in the Syrian conflict.
The spokesman for the Syrian opposition, Youssef Hammoud, said that the airstrike in the northwestern Idlib governorate, the last opposition stronghold in Syria, targeted a military training camp for the Sham Legion. The Sham Legion is the largest armed group supported by Turkey and one of the most disciplined and best trained.
Turkey has long supported the Syrian rebel forces and has used many of these fighters to reinforce its military campaigns in Libya and Azerbaijan.
The camp on Mount Duwailah, close to the Turkish border, was hosting training sessions for new recruits, according to a war monitor and another opposition spokesman. Hammoud said camp leaders were among the dead.
No journalists or activists were allowed in the area near the camp, and the extent of the damage was not immediately known.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war in Syria, led to the death toll rising to 78 and wounding nearly 90. The observatory said that rescue efforts are still underway. She also suspects that the airstrike was carried out before Russia, A close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s civil war.
A hospital near the site of the explosion was packed with wounded people and forced to send the wounded and dead to other facilities. A doctor in Idlib city said that the central hospital in the city, more than 15 miles (24 kilometers) from the camp, received two bodies and 11 wounded. The doctor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that all of the victims were fighters because he was not allowed to discuss the attack on an armed group. Media activist Rashid al-Bakr was among the dead, according to the Macro Media Center, an online news platform.
A Facebook group called on Idlib residents to review hospitals in the city if their relatives were missing, which is a clear indication that many are still unidentified.
And the Syrian opposition factions vowed to respond.
“We, the National Liberation Front factions, will respond to these violations,” said Naji al-Mustafa, a spokesman for the Turkish-backed fighters, threatening to target government and Russian sites. He described the strike as a “crime” by Russia.
Turkey and Russia brokered a truce in Idlib earlier this year to halt a government offensive that has displaced hundreds of thousands of people in the already crowded enclave. About 12 Turkish observation posts were deployed inside Idlib to monitor the truce, which remained fragile.
In recent days, strikes have resumed.
On Friday, air strikes targeted a local market to burn primitive fuel and diesel in the opposition-held Jarablus region, north of Aleppo. The observatory stated that at least seven people were killed.
Last week, Turkish forces evacuated one of its largest military bases in the area, which had been besieged by Syrian government forces for several months. Syrian opposition fighters said this was part of Turkey’s redeployment of its forces in the shrinking pocket.