Idlib is one of
the most important strongholds of rebels, including jihadist
factions, who seek to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, whose
air force, along with that of his ally Russia, has been heavily
bombarding insurgents there.
The Observatory said it had received information that some of
those who died were shot dead while attempting to flee the
prison after the air strike hit one side of it. Two jailers were
among the 16 people killed.
The population of Idlib, located in northwest Syria, has been
swelled by refugees including many of those who have left
rebel-held enclaves elsewhere in the country after the army and
its allies forced them to surrender.
While parts of Idlib are controlled by Turkey-backed rebels,
including factions who fight under the banner of the Free Syrian
Army, other areas are dominated by the hardline Islamist Ahrar
al-Sham and others by the Tahrir al-Sham jihadist alliance.
Tahrir al-Sham's strongest component is the former Nusra Front
group which was al Qaeda's official branch in Syria until last
year when it broke formal ties with the global movement.
(Reporting by Angus McDowall; Editing by Mark Potter)
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