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Nearly 950 Die After Spike In Syria Fighting

A rise in fighting in the past month in Syria's Idlib Province has resulted in the deaths of 948 people, nearly a third of them civilians, a war monitoring group said on May 31.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 288 civilians including 67 children were killed since April 30 by Syrian and Russian military fire.

It said militant fire had killed a further 22 civilians including 10 children in regime-held territory.

A deal was struck in September with the aim of averting a full-scale regime offensive on Idlib Province and nearby areas held by Syria's former Al-Qaida affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

But President Bashar al-Assad's regime and its Russian ally have since late April ramped up deadly air strikes and rocket fire on the militant stronghold, and fighters have clashed on its edges.

The United Nations has said some 270,000 people have been displaced by the fighting since late April, and aid agencies have been forced to halt work in some areas.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on May 31 that militants and allied rebels must halt attacks on regime-held areas for any ceasefire to hold.

"A cease-fire in Idlib is necessary and it's also necessary to have terrorists stop shooting at civilian targets as well as some facilities where our troops are located -- including in Hmeimim," a key Russian airbase to the west of Idlib, Peskov said.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

Nearly 950 Die After Spike In Syria Fighting

A rise in fighting in the past month in Syria's Idlib Province has resulted in the deaths of 948 people, nearly a third of them civilians, a war monitoring group said on May 31.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 288 civilians including 67 children were killed since April 30 by Syrian and Russian military fire.

It said militant fire had killed a further 22 civilians including 10 children in regime-held territory.

A deal was struck in September with the aim of averting a full-scale regime offensive on Idlib Province and nearby areas held by Syria's former Al-Qaida affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

But President Bashar al-Assad's regime and its Russian ally have since late April ramped up deadly air strikes and rocket fire on the militant stronghold, and fighters have clashed on its edges.

The United Nations has said some 270,000 people have been displaced by the fighting since late April, and aid agencies have been forced to halt work in some areas.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on May 31 that militants and allied rebels must halt attacks on regime-held areas for any ceasefire to hold.

"A cease-fire in Idlib is necessary and it's also necessary to have terrorists stop shooting at civilian targets as well as some facilities where our troops are located -- including in Hmeimim," a key Russian airbase to the west of Idlib, Peskov said.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.