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Women and children killed in air strikes on rebel-held village in Syria

At least 17 people including women and children have been killed in air strikes on a rebel-held village in north-west Syria, activists and rescue workers said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the overnight strikes hit a village in southern Idlib province.

The Observatory said at least four children and two women were among those killed.

The province is a rebel and insurgent stronghold and President Bashar Assad's forces have recently launched an offensive to try to retake it after losing it nearly three years ago.

The Syrian Civil Defence, the team of first responders also known as the White Helmets, said the high explosive air strikes destroyed an entire block. The group put the death toll at 19.

The defence group also posted pictures of its volunteers struggling to pull bodies from the rubble and described the air strikes as highly explosive.

Images posted by a local activist-operated media platform, the Idlib Media Centre, showed a twisted car next to rubble of squashed buildings.

Idlib is a rebel and insurgent stronghold where President Bashar Assad's forces have recently launched an offensive to try and retake the province after losing it nearly three years ago.

Intense fighting in recent days has brought government troops into Idlib's southern edges for the first time in years and air strikes have intensified amid the offensive.

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