Syria airstrikes kill 17, mostly children, outside school

BEIRUT (AP) — Airstrikes in Syria killed 17 people, mostly children today when warplanes struck a school complex in the northern rebel-held province of Idlib, activists said.

The Idlib News network said the strikes hit as the children were gathered outside the school complex in the village of Hass. The activist-operated group put the death toll at 17, and said most of the victims were children.

There were fears the death toll could rise further as some of the wounded were reported to be in critical condition, the network added. Another activist group, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at 22. It said 14 children and a woman were among those killed.

Idlib is the main Syrian opposition stronghold, though radical groups also have a large presence there. It has regularly been hit by Syrian and Russian warplanes as well as the U.S.-led coalition targeting Islamic State militants.

Footage posted by activists on line shows a huge plume of smoke rising from the area of the strikes. Rescuers are seen rushing casualties away along a dusty road lined with destroyed buildings.

A woman's body is seen being carried on a stretcher while other bodies, covered in cloth and one with only a hat, are lying under shrubs in what could possibly have been a garden among the buildings. Other casualties are seen being ferried in pickup trucks.