Russia jets destroy
Russian airstrikes reportedly kill 48 people from same family Reuters

A Russian airstrike in Syria has killed 48 people from the same family, according to Syrian activists. The bombing reportedly took place in the Syrian countryside near the central city of Homs.

A bomb shelter where the family was hiding was hit by a rocket, which destroyed the building, Al Jazeera reported. Russian jets have been launching airstrikes in the area and other regions, as they look to bolster Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

The Russian military said in a statement that its air force made 36 sorties, hitting 49 Islamic State (ISIS) targets in Syria in the last 24 hours. The targets were hit in Hama, Idlib, Latakia, Damascus and Aleppo regions, the statement said.

The news comes as a Syrian army offensive, supported by Russian jets in the northern province of Aleppo was rebuffed after they faced fierce resistance from rebel forces. Russia has been providing air cover for Syrian troops since 30 September, as al-Assad seeks to reclaim territory back from rebel groups who had recently taken vast swathes of land from the government.

The bloody war in Syria has killed around 250,000 people since 2011. What started off as a peaceful protest against the rule of al- Assad has descended in a chaotic civil war which has drawn in most of the world's powers, and created a huge refugee crisis.

The war has become a quagmire with the main two powers in the Middle East, Iran and Saudi Arabia, fighting a proxy war on opposite sides. Although the momentum has continually swung from al-Assad's forces to the rebel groups, the conflict shows no sign of ending with a clear victor.

Russian airstrikes have helped the Syrian army, with the backing of the Lebanese Shia militia Hezbollah and Iranian fighters, retake territory around the northern city of Aleppo from insurgents and jihadist fighters on Saturday (17 October).