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28 civilians killed in Syria, most in Russian air strikes
12 January 2018, 10:52 | Opal Carroll
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses servicemen as he visits the Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province Syria
The war has killed more than 340,000 people and displaced millions from their homes since it began in 2011 with the brutal regime repression of anti-government protests by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
AFPsaid the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 11 women and three children killed.
Russian Federation rejects Syrian opposition and rights groups' accusations that its jets have been responsible for deaths of thousands of civilians since its major intervention two years ago that turned the tide in the country's almost seven-year-old war in favor of President Bashar al-Assad. More than 40 people were also injured.
Rebels in Eastern Ghouta have managed to keep Syrian military forces at bay during years of war, but a four-year government siege of the district has led to a humanitarian crisis with severe shortages of food and medicine.
About 30 civilians have been reported killed in air strikes on two towns in the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area outside Syria's capital, Damascus.
The United Nations has made repeated calls for warring parties to abide by their responsibility to protect children in line with global humanitarian and human rights law.
Government and allied forces backed by Russian warplanes have been battling militant fighters and rebels for more than a week in an area straddling the boundary between Idlib and Hama provinces.
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Assad forces have been bombing Eastern Ghouta since November 14. "As a result of the shelling, two servicemen were killed", the ministry said.
On Wednesday, the ministry said two pilots died when a Russian Mi-24 helicopter crashed due to a technical fault 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) off the Khmeimim Air Base.
Meanwhile, Russian daily Kommersant reported at least seven Russian planes were also destroyed by rebel shelling on December 31.
Moscow acknowledged in recent months that its special forces are also active on the ground in the offensive against the Islamic State group.
"On December 31, 2017, after dark, the Hmeymim airfield suddenly came under mortar shelling from a mobile subversive group of militants".
"There have been at least six major massacres perpetrated by Russian Federation in indiscriminate bombing of cities and towns with thousands fleeing their homes in the last two weeks", said Mustafa al Haj Yousef, the head of Idlib's Civil Defence, rescuers who work in opposition-held areas.
"The Kommersant report on alleged "actual destruction" of seven Russian war planes at Hmeymim air base is fake", TASS said, citing the ministry.
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