The Syrian government early Thursday shelled a village in the rebel-held northwestern part of the country, killing at least five civilians, activists and emergency workers said.
The shelling, which comes amid a rise in strikes in the rebel-held enclave in recent days, hit a family house on the outskirts of the the village of Kafr Nouran in western Aleppo province, according to opposition-held northwestern Syria's civil defence organisation known as the White Helmets.
The dead included an elderly woman and three of her daughters and her son, said Britain-based opposition war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Nine others from the family were injured, it said.
Neither Syria nor its key military ally Russia commented on the shelling, but Damascus says strikes in the northwestern province target armed insurgent groups. The Syrian pro-government newspaper Al-Watan said the Syrian army had targeted the al-Qaeda-linked militant group Hayat Tahrir al Sham in response to its shelling of government forces' positions in southern Idlib.
The White Helmets say the Syrian government strikes have increased this past week, including shelling in the city of Sarmeen on Tuesday that hit a school and mosque, killing at least six people. The first responders also said that shelling hit a house and farmland in Binnish near Idlib city, but did not cite any casualties.
Northwestern Syria is mostly held by HTS, as well as Turkish-backed forces.
The vast majority of some 4.1 million people residing in the enclave live in poverty, most relying on humanitarian aid to survive. Many of them are internally displaced Syrians.