BEIRUT (AP) – Warplanes attacked Turkey-backed opposition fighters in northern Syria on Sunday, killing and wounding about 20, an opposition war monitor and pro-government media said.
The airstrike struck a position in an area near the town of Afrin. It came amid increasing tensions between government forces and insurgent groups who still have a stronghold in northwestern Syria, mainly in the province of Idlib.
The Sunday morning airstrike was carried out by Russian warplanes, opposition activists said.
The airstrike hit a center for a Turkey-backed group known as the Hamza Division killing seven fighters and wounding 13, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Pro-government media also reported Russian airstrikes near Afrin saying that a number of gunmen were killed or wounded.
Russia joined the war in September 2015 helping tip the balance of power in favor of President Bashar Assad´s forces while Turkey has been a main backer of the opposition.
Syria´s conflict that broke out in March 2011 has left hundreds of thousands dead and displaced half the country´s pre-war population of 23 million, including more than 5 million refugees outside the war-torn nation.
On Friday, United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said her office has documented the deaths of 350,209 people – civilians and combatants – in Syria´s civil war. She said the real number is almost certainly far higher.