At least 22 children have been killed and others are injured after warplanes struck a school complex in northwest Syria, the UN children’s agency UNICEF reports. It is thought the airstrikes were carried out by Russian or Syrian jets.
The incident happened on Wednesday when at least 7 airstrikes struck a school complex in the rebel-held village of Hass, which is located in the northwestern province of Idlib. Photos and video from the site showed major damage and the bodies of multiple children.
The activist monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed either Russian or Syrian warplanes were responsible for the attack. “It’s horrible, horrible. I hope we were not involved,” Russia’s UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, told AFP when asked about the airstrikes.
UNICEF reported that at least 28 people were killed at the school, including 22 children and 6 teachers. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 35 people had been killed overall, including people who died in airstrikes near the school.
“This is a tragedy. It is an outrage. And if deliberate, it is a war crime,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “This latest atrocity may be the deadliest attack on a school since the war began more than five years ago.”
Lake added: “Children lost forever to their families, teachers lost forever to their students. One more scar on Syria’s future. When will the world’s revulsion at such barbarity be matched by insistence that this must stop?”
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