Middle East

Syria war: 'Forty jihadists' killed in Aleppo air strikes

Fighters from Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (file photo) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Jabhat Fateh al-Sham is excluded from the nationwide ceasefire

At least 40 jihadists have been killed in air strikes on a training camp in western Aleppo, reports say.

Most of those killed are said to have belonged to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, which is excluded from the current ceasefire.

It is not clear whether US-led coalition, Syrian or Russian planes carried out the attack.

Meanwhile the UN Security Council is to discuss preparations for peace talks between the Syrian government and rebels due in Kazakhstan on Monday.

The UN said on Thursday that its Syrian envoy Staffan de Mistura would attend the meeting in Astana, which has been convened by Russia, Turkey and Iran.

It will mark the first time the two warring sides have met since UN-brokered talks broke up amid acrimony in Geneva in April 2016.

An intense wave of air strikes is reported to have hit the Sheikh Sulaiman camp, previously headquarters of the now-defunct US-backed Hazm Movement.

Unconfirmed reports say three members of members of Nour al-Din al-Zinki group were also killed.

The group and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS) have become increasingly allied in recent months. Nour al-Din al-Zinki said early on that they would not be attending the talks in Astana.

JFS, known as al-Nusra Front until it broke off formal ties with al-Qaeda in July, along with the so-called Islamic State (IS) group are not covered by the nationwide ceasefire, which was declared at the end of last year.

The ceasefire is largely holding, although air strikes and clashes have been reported on several battlefronts, particularly in the Wadi Barada region north-west of Damascus.

More than 300,000 people have been killed and 11 million others displaced in almost six years of conflict, which began with anti-government protests before escalating into a full-scale civil war.