BEIRUT – A barrage of airstrikes on rebel-held areas in Syria have killed scores of people, just hours after the government in Damascus approved a US-Russian plan to halt fighting in the country’s suppurating civil war.
It was not immediately clear who carried out the raids, which hit the key northern cities of Idlib and Aleppo.
But they came as a new ceasefire, agreed as part of a landmark deal brokered by Russia and the US, was set to begin today, the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid’l Adha, allowing much needed aid to reach the beleaguered civilian population.
The regime of President Bashar al-Assad approved the truce deal on Saturday, but the main opposition group was more cautious.
Syrian state news agency SANA reported that the “government has approved the agreement, and a cessation of hostilities will begin in Aleppo for humanitarian reasons.”
Citing “informed sources,” it said “the entire agreement was reached with the knowledge of the Syrian government.
The opposition High Negotiations Committee was more circumspect, saying it had yet to receive the deal’s ‘‘official’’ text.
Despite the apparent breakthrough, the killing continued, with deadly bombing raids on the rebel stronghold of Idlib province.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 58 people were killed in raids on various neighborhoods of Idlib city, including a market, but it was not immediately clear who carried out the strikes.
The toll included 13 women and 13 children, it said.
An AFP photographer in Idlib saw men clambering over rubble in just sandals to help evacuate wounded and dust-covered residents from a collapsing building.
Another 12 civilians were killed in unidentified strikes on several neighborhoods of Aleppo city, and 18 people died in bombardment of other parts of Aleppo province, the Observatory said. (AFP)