TOPSHOT - People walk amid the rubble of destroyed buildings following a reported air strike on the rebel-held neighbourhood of al-Kalasa in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, on April 28, 2016.
The death toll from an upsurge of fighting in Syria's second city Aleppo rose despite a plea by the UN envoy for the warring sides to respect a February ceasefire. / AFP / AMEER ALHALBI        (Photo credit should read AMEER ALHALBI/AFP/Getty Images)
The struggle to maintain the Syrian ceasefire
03:53 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

At least 28 people were killed when warplanes struck a refugee camp Thursday in Syria, the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported, with many of the dead women and children.

Rami Abdul Rahman, director of the London-based group, told CNN it was not immediately clear whether Syrian or Russian planes conducted the airstrike.

The planes attacked the Kamuna camp next to Sarmada village in the northern countryside of Idlib province on the border with Turkey, according to the observatory.

Majd Khalaf, a civil defense officer in Syria, said the number of casualties may go higher because so many people were injured. He said two jet fighters struck the camp, according to eyewitnesses the civil defense team interviewed.

Video showed tents burning while men with firehoses tried to put out blazes. Men covered and carried away bodies, and women and children lying in a truck bed wailed in anguish before a vehicle drove them away.

The bombing was part of heavy fighting that erupted in Syria a day after the United States and Russia brokered a ceasefire for Aleppo, one of the country’s most war-torn cities, and surrounding areas.

Syrian government helicopters shelled the southern countryside of Aleppo with rockets and barrel bombs, and Syrian forces targeted the road connecting the city and Damascus, the monitoring group reported. At least two people were killed and a number injured, it said.

ISIS and other militant groups are fighting in different positions in the northern countryside of Aleppo, the observatory said.

Al Qaeda-affiliated al Nusra Front and other armed groups fired rockets on residential neighborhoods in Aleppo, the monitoring group said. Islamist and militant groups shelled regime-held area in the city.

Stephen O’Brien, the U.N. aid chief, condemned the airstrike, saying thousands of Syrians have been forced to flee their homes so far this year.

“Continued fighting and airstrikes mean that vulnerable, frightened children, women and men have nowhere safe to go,” he said.

“If this obscene attack is found to be a deliberate targeting of a civilian structure, it could amount to a war crime.”

‘No justifiable excuse’

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said there is “no justifiable excuse” for a reported airstrike on a refugee camp in northern Syria. He said there were no U.S. or coalition aircraft operating in the area but didn’t say who was responsible.

Tass, the Russian news agency, said the truce was “very fragile due to the activity of terrorists,” quoting Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

The United States and Russia concluded arrangements Tuesday for a cessation of violence in Aleppo and surrounding areas, according to the U.S. State Department.

The ceasefire was supposed to last 48 hours, starting at 1 a.m. local time Thursday (6 p.m. Wednesday ET), the Syrian army’s general command said.

The ceasefire talks were part of an international effort to enforce a cessation of violence across Syria.

Dozens have been killed on both sides in the latest surge of violence.

Rocket attacks targeting government-held areas in Aleppo killed at least 17 people Monday, state media reported.

Fatalities included people at al-Dhabit hospital, state media and the observatory reported, blaming Islamist groups for the shelling.

The attacks came days after an airstrike hit a hospital in a rebel-held area of Aleppo, reportedly killing the city’s last pediatrician. The death toll from last week’s attack has risen to 55, according to Doctors Without Borders.

The U.N. Security Council convened an urgent meeting Wednesday on the violence in Aleppo in response to a request from Britain and France.

The truth about Syria, behind rebel lines

CNN’s Mohammed Tawfeeq and Merieme Arif also contributed to this report.