Airstrikes in Syria reportedly carried out by Russian warplanes killed at least 14 people on Friday, according to activists, while President Bashar Assad made a rare public appearance at a church in the capital, Damascus, attending preparations for Christmas Eve, his office said.

The airstrikes took place in the northwestern rebel-held town of Jisr al-Shughour and the casualties included women and children, two activist groups said.

One of the groups, the Local Coordination Committees, said the air raids were carried out by Russian warplanes and struck residential buildings. The group said 17 people were killed.

The other group, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the airstrikes killed 14 people. One of the killed women was pregnant, the Observatory said.

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