Nine die in strike on Syrian rebel enclave

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At least nine civilians, including three children, were killed on Thursday in two shelling attacks mounted by the Syrian government forces against a rebel stronghold in the north-west of the war-torn country, a monitoring group reported.

Eleven others were injured in the attacks that targeted parts of the Idlib province, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights added.

Idlib is the last rebel stronghold in Syria. Russian-supported Syrian government forces launched a major offensive in the region last year, provoking United Nations concerns over civilians' safety there.

Russia and Iran back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey has been supporting opposition forces since the uprising started against al-Assad in 2011.

Russia and Turkey agreed on a ceasefire for the long-disputed area in March of last year. Since then the violence has decreased.

Nevertheless, the area has recently come under shelling attacks by government troops.

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