• Syrian Observatory for Human Rights warns children among dead following bombings in rebel-held towns.
  • Russia says airstrikes are only targeting hardline Islamists.

Suspected Russian jets have killed at least 20 civilians following airstrikes in residential areas, a monitoring group has warned. Eleven women and one child were killed after at least four bombs were dropped on a residential buildings in the town of Misraba. More than 40 people were also injured.

According to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor based in the UK, a further 10 people were killed in other towns situated close to rebel strongholds in the capital Damascus.

The group says the death toll is expected to rise as some of the injured are in a critical condition.

Video appeared on social media of residents attempting to pull women and children out of the rubble following the raids, but the footage has not been verified.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said: "This intense shelling accompanied by continuous violent clashes between the Islamic movement of Ahrar Al-Sham, Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham and Rahman Corps against the regime forces and militiamen loyal to them, in areas at the vicinity of the vehicle department and near the governorate building and in the vicinity of Harasta city, accompanied by exchange of targeting in the clash areas between both parties."

Russia has rejected claims their jets are responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians since the country began its intervention in the Syria civil war, saying that they are are only targeting hardline Islamists.

Airstrikes have continued to hit the rebel-held city of Harasta, with the UN warning that as many as 400,00 civilians in the area face "complete catastrophe" because aid deliveries have been blocked by the government and people needing urgent medical treatment have not been allowed outside the enclave.

Elsewhere, there have been reports that at least seven Russian planes were destroyed by rebel shelling at the Khmeimim airbase in Syria on 31 December. If confirmed, the attack would be the biggest loss of military hardware suffered by Russia since it began launching airstrikes against Syria in 2015.

According to Reuters, citing "diplomatic sources", four Su-24 bombers, two Su-35S fighters and an An-72 transport plane, as well as an ammunition depot, were destroyed by the shelling.

Smoke rises from buildings following an air strike on the rebel-held besieged town of Arbin, in the eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on 2 January Getty