Anas al Dyab, a photographer and videographer in his early 20s, was a member of the White Helmets who also contributed to Turkey's Anadolu Agency.

Members of the Syrian Civil Defence known as
Members of the Syrian Civil Defence known as "White Helmets" and friends pray over the grave of citizen journalist Anas al Dyab during his funeral in the rebel-held city of Idlib in northwestern Syria on July 21, 2019. (AFP)

A young citizen journalist was among at least 17 civilians killed in air raids on Syria's rebel-held Idlib region on Sunday, rescue workers and a monitor said, as he filmed the bombardment of the battered enclave.

Anas al Dyab, a photographer and videographer in his early 20s, was a member of the White Helmets who also contributed to Turkey's Anadolu Agency. 

He was killed in Russian air strikes in the town of Khan Shaykhun, rescuers and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Friends and family gather to bid farewell to Dyab, his body wrapped in a white shroud.

His mother and father, fellow citizen journalists, and rescue workers watched him be buried in the city of Idlib, as ongoing bombardment prevented him from being laid to rest in his hometown of Khan Shaykhun. 

'Wouldn't leave' 

The Damascus regime and its Russian ally have stepped up their deadly bombardment of the rebel-held region of Idlib since late April, despite a September buffer zone deal to protect the region of some three million people from a massive military assault.

The spike in violence has killed more than 630 civilians, caused tens of thousands to flee there homes, and damaged or knocked out of service two dozen health facilities.

The White Helmets said five of its members had been killed since the start of the escalation on Idlib.

Khan Shaykhun, a town in the south of Idlib, has been particularly hard hit, forcing thousands to flee their homes there, according t o the United Nations.

But Dyab "chose to remain with his fellow volunteers in Khan Shaykhun till today," the White Helmets said.

Raed al-Saleh, the head of the White Helmets, said Dyab was killed while "trying to show the world what's going on in Syria".

"It's a great loss," he said.

Dyab, who was single, leaves behind his parents and three brothers, one of whom is held by the Damascus regime, Saleh said.

His family told AFP he would "not leave Khan Shaykhun except as a martyr."

TRT World's Sarah Firth reports from Turkey's southern province of Hatay.

Hiding in a cellar 

The Observatory said Dyab was hiding in the cellar of a three-storey building with two members of the Jaish al-Ezza rebel group when the strike happened.

Also on Sunday, regime air strikes killed 10 other civilians including three children in other parts of the bastion, according to the Britain-based Observatory, which relies on sources inside Syria for its information.

The White Helmets, who are backed by the West, were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016.

Syria's war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies