At least 12 children have been killed along with their teacher in a Russian airstrike that hit a school in Syria’s Aleppo province, a monitor says.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strike in the town of Anjara, about nine miles west of the city of Aleppo, also injured at least 20 people, all of them children and teachers.
The group said there had been heavy airstrikes and clashes between government and rebel forces since Sunday in the northern province, which is controlled by a mixture of moderate and Islamist rebels.
Social media footage released by opposition activists showed a classroom with destroyed benches and textbooks lying on the floor stained with blood. The footage could not be independently verified.
The UK-based monitor also reported that three children were killed by rebel rocket fire on a government-held district in Aleppo city.
Control of the city has been divided between government forces in the west and rebel fighters in the east since shortly after fighting began there in mid-2012. Government forces regularly carry out air raids on the east, while rebels fire rockets into the west.
The situation is largely reversed in the countryside surrounding the city, with rebels controlling much of the area west of Aleppo, and the government present to the east.
Russia, a staunch ally of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, began airstrikes in support of the central government in late September. It says it is targeting the Islamic State group and other “terrorists”, but a third of those killed in its strikes have been civilians, according to the Observatory.
The monitor said in late December that Russian airstrikes had killed more than 2,300 people since they began on 30 September, among them 792 civilians.
Moscow has said allegations that its strikes have killed civilians are “absurd”.
More than 260,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests.