Russia air strikes kill 10 civilians in northwest Syria: Monitor

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The statement came after Britain, France, the U.S. and eight other countries at the UN Security Council warned on May 10 of a potential humanitarian catastrophe from an offensive in Idlib region.

The raids hit near a hospital in the town, knocking it out of service, the Britain-based monitor said.

"Russia and Syria are the only countries that fly planes in the area", British Ambassador Karen Pierce told the council.

People "had thought I was under the rubble" she said.

"Schools, hospitals and other vital civilian infrastructure must be protected from attack", the charity's Syria director Sonia Khush said.

"We categorically reject accusations of violations of worldwide humanitarian law", Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzya told the council.

Syria's war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions inside Syria and overseas since starting in March 2011 with a crackdown on anti-government demonstrations.

Dozens of worldwide aid groups also warned Friday that humanitarian conditions in Syria's northwest have reached a new "crisis point".

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Turkey and Russian Federation agreed last September to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone where acts of aggression would be expressly prohibited.

Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, controls a large part of Idlib province as well as parts of neighbouring Aleppo, Hama and Latakia provinces.

In their appeal issued Friday, some 70 aid groups called for an immediate end to the fighting.

"Since late April, this escalation in violence has reportedly killed and injured over a hundred civilians and further displaced 180,000", U.N. political chief Rosemary DiCarlo told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.

The violence has forced at least 16 humanitarian organizations to suspend their operations in the region, the groups added.

The Syrian regime forces have shelled farmlands during harvest season in opposition-held parts of Syria's Hama province, local sources said.

Lowcock said 49 health centres had partially or totally suspended activities, some for fear of being attacked, while 17 schools had been damaged or destroyed and many more closed.

The statement said despite the ceasefire, "firing targeting government forces' positions and civilians in the provinces of Hama, Latakia and Aleppo continues".

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