Damascus, August 17: In Syria, at least 13 people have been killed, including four children and activists following a suspected Russian airstrike that hit a displaced people's gathering in the town of Hass south of Idlib province, on Friday, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Syrian troops have been on the offensive in Idlib and its surroundings, the last major rebel stronghold in Syria, since April 30 in a Russia-backed campaign.
Idlib and the surrounding rebel-held area is home to some three million people, many of them displaced in other battles around the war-torn country. In recent weeks, more than 450,000 have been displaced within the area while more than 500 civilians were killed. The violence continued despite pleas from the United Nations and aid groups.
Separately, the local media reported that the country's air defenses have responded to a "hostile target" and destroyed the missile before it reached a central Syrian town.
It said on Friday that the projectile had entered the Syrian airspace overnight from Lebanon's airspace, heading toward the town of Masyaf in Hama province.
The report suggested, without saying outright, that the missile was fired by Israel. SANA says the incoming projectile was destroyed before it reached its target. Syrian military posts in Masyaf were previously hit in suspected Israeli strikes.
Russia has upgraded Syrian air defense systems, delivering the S-300 system last year.