Russia’s air strikes on Syria’s rebel-held areas of Homs and Hama provinces have killed at least 36 civilians, including five women and six children, according to rebel opposition groups. Russian defence officials said aircraft, including Sukhoi Su-24 warplanes from an airbase near Latakia, hit the Islamic State (Isis) group but multiple local and international sources said IS-free areas were targeted instead.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA), a Western-backed opposition group, said it has been struck by Russian aerial bombings. The group’s commander, Major Jamil al-Saleh, said the northern countryside of Hama “has no presence of Isis at all and is under the control of the Free Syrian Army”. He said his group had been supplied with advanced anti-tank missiles by foreign powers battling President Bashar al-Assad.