Idlib towns and families destroyed as Syrian forces move northward

  • Video report by ITV News Senior International Correspondent John Irvine

There’s a heat wave in Idlib and it’s Ramadan - the daylight hours of fasting are best spent indoors.

That meant women and children were resting at home when a Syrian Air Force Mig-22 dropped four bombs on the market town of Ariha at 1.15pm on Monday.

Ten women and children were killed as their homes were reduced to rubble.

Homes were reduced to rubble following the airstrike, with rescue workers and families doing all they can to find survivors. Credit: ITV News

Rescue workers and relatives were on the scene in five minutes. As well as dead bodies they plucked survivors from the rubble.

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A man was filmed cradling ten-year-old Noor, the son of Fadel Fahham.

Covered in dust the boy was unconscious but alive.

Fadel Fahham lost four members of his family in the blast: his mother and three children. Credit: ITV News

Eighteen hours after the bombing we found Noor in hospital where he is doing okay.

We found his father Fadel in mourning. His mother and three of his other children were killed in the raid – another son Zain, aged nine, and twin sisters, Sham and Wissam. They were four years old.

“They were just children. Now they are birds in heaven,” he told me.

“The only terrorist is Bashar al-Assad. May God punish him for he has ripped out my heart.”

Fadel's children, Zain, aged nine and twin sisters, Sham and Wissam, aged four, were all killed. Credit: ITV News

The Syrian/Russian aerial bombardment is creeping northwards.

Many of the towns and villages south of Ariha have already been abandoned because of air strikes.

If Ariha takes much more punishment it too will become a ghost town.

Fadel blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the attack. Credit: AP

In the past month alone something like 200,000 people have fled to northern Idlib, to as close to the Turkish border as they can get.

In total around 3 million people are now corralled in Idlib Province. The UN fears a massive humanitarian crisis if the government assault keeps going.

In Idlib hospital we also found the eldest of Fadel Fahham’s five children. 12-year-old Lana is critically injured.

Fadel's 12-year-old daughter is in critical condition in hospital. Credit: ITV News

She lies somewhere between life and death. Like the place she calls home her future hangs in the balance.