DAMASCUS, Syria, May 31 (UPI) -- At least 23 people were killed on Monday due to airstrikes targeting the rebel-controlled northwestern Syrian city of Idlib, where a local hospital was nearly struck.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Turkish government accused Russia of carrying out the nighttime airstrikes that also injured dozens. The Syrian Civil Defense volunteer rescue group carried out search operations to find survivors.
At least seven children were killed. The airstrikes targeted several residential neighborhoods, locations near a hospital and a public garden. The Russian Ministry of Defense denied accusations of culpability.
"Russian planes did not carry out any combat missions, to say nothing of any airstrikes, in the province of Idlib," Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement. Russia is an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Turkey has strongly condemned Assad's government and Russia's involvement in the Syrian civil war, calling on the international community to act against Damascus' and Moscow's "indefensible crimes" including the airstrikes.
The Syrian Civil Defense, also known as The White Helmets, carried out an operation in which a young boy was rescued from the rubble.