Syria: Children saved from airstrike as Assad forces make final push in Idlib

12 February 2020, 11:04 | Updated: 12 February 2020, 14:18

Two children and a baby have been pulled to safety from a house hit by an airstrike, as the Syrian regime continues its final push to clear rebels from Idlib.

Covered in dust, they are seen as they are carried from the wrecked building and put into an ambulance, in footage from a member of the White Helmets rescue team.

Two of the children were bloodied but did not appear seriously injured.

President Bashar al Assad's forces are trying to defeat the last of the rebels and complete victory in the bloody nine-year civil war that has devastated the country.

Hundreds of thousands of displaced people are in the firing line after large numbers fled to Idlib - a city and province in Syria's northwest close to the Turkish border.

Many have taken to the road to try to escape the violence.

The latest strikes killed a dozen people in Idlib, according to UK-based monitoring group The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Rescuers said Syrian and Russia planes had attacked a number of towns in the province, while the UN says hundreds of civilians have died in recent bombings.

Mr Assad's forces are supported by Russian warplanes, which control the skies over Idlib, as well as Iran-backed militias, while Turkey is backing some rebel groups.

On Tuesday, a Syrian regime helicopter was shot down by the rebels near the village of Nairab, with video showing it spiralling from the sky in a fiery crash.

Tensions between Turkey and the Syria-Russia alliance are also increasing.

Turkey, which has taken in more than three million refugees, has warned it will attack Syrian forces "by any means necessary" if more of its soldiers are hurt.

It has observation posts and two military positions in Syrian territory, but 13 of its troops have been killed by shelling in the last 10 days.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned: "If there is the smallest injury to our soldiers on the observation posts or other places, I am declaring from here that we will hit the regime forces everywhere from today, regardless of Idlib's borders or the lines of the Sochi agreement."

"We will do this by any means necessary, by air or ground, without hesitating, without allowing for any stalling," he added

Turkey is sending a delegation to Moscow in the coming days to discuss the conflict, and the Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin and Mr Erdogan had spoken by phone on Wednesday.