Syrian aircraft bomb the north, 45 dead: Activists
Government forces widened a bombing campaign in rebel-held areas of northern Syria, striking the northern city of Aleppo and a town on the Turkish border in raids that left an estimated 45 people dead, activists said.
Beirut: Government forces widened a bombing campaign in rebel-held areas of northern Syria, striking the northern city of Aleppo and a town on the Turkish border in raids that left an estimated 45 people dead, activists said.
The yesterday`s attack on the border town of Azaz was the latest attack using powerful but inaccurate "barrel bombs" on the Aleppo region, said an activist who goes by the name of Abu al-Hassan Marea.
He said residents in the town told him that 15 people were killed in the strike. Another activist group, the Local Coordination Committees, gave the same death toll.
The Azaz attack suggests the government is expanding its range of targets a week after it began an unusually heavy air offensive against Aleppo on December 15, dropping barrel bombs on rebel-held areas from helicopters.
Aleppo, Syria`s largest city, is divided into government-and-rebel-ruled areas.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that multiple air raids on the Aleppo neighborhoods of Sukkari, Maadi, Marjeh and Nairab left at least 30 people including 12 children dead yesterday. It said the death toll could rise as there are many people who were seriously wounded.
On Sunday, 65 were killed near an Aleppo marketplace in one of the bloodiest days of the air campaign, according to activists.
Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Observatory, said earlier in the day that air raids on the northern province of Aleppo have killed at least 301 people including 87 children, 30 women and nearly 30 opposition fighters since mid-December.
That figure did not include those reported killed yesterday. The aid group Doctors Without borders has said the bombs killed at least 189 people and wounded 879 in the first four days alone.
The main Western-backed Syrian opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, warned that if the bombing campaign against Aleppo continues it will not take part in UN sponsored peace talks planned for January 22 in Switzerland.
A coalition statement quoted the group`s Secretary General Badr Jamous as saying they will boycott the talks in case the air raids do not stop.
Barrel bombs are crude devices filled with explosives and fuel that are wildly inaccurate often landing near schools and market places, causing massive damage on impact.
The government has not commented on the use of the crude weapons, nor on the intensified strikes over Aleppo. But the timing suggests that President Bashar Assad could be trying to strengthen his position a month ahead of planned peace talks in Switzerland.