Activists say Syrian air raid killed 28 civilians

Tuesday 30 October 2012 18.04
Maarat al-Numaan has been under aerial and ground bombardment since rebels seized control last month
Maarat al-Numaan has been under aerial and ground bombardment since rebels seized control last month

Syrian warplanes bombed rebel targets with renewed intensity today after the end of a widely ignored four-day truce between President Bashar al-Assad's forces and insurgents.

State television said "terrorists" had assassinated an air force general, Abdullah Mahmoud al-Khalidi, in a Damascus suburb, the latest of several rebel attacks on senior officials.

In July, a bomb killed four of Mr Assad's aides, including his brother-in-law Assef Shawkat and the defence minister.

Air strikes hit eastern suburbs of Damascus, outlying areas in the central city of Homs, and the northern rebel-held town of Maarat al-Numan on the Damascus-Aleppo highway, activists said.

Rebels have been attacking army bases in al-Hamdaniya and Wadi al-Deif, on the outskirts of Maarat al-Numan.

Some activists said 28 civilians had been killed in Maarat al-Numan and released video footage of men retrieving a toddler's body from a flattened building.

The men cursed Mr Assad as they dragged the dead girl, wearing a colourful overall, from the debris. The footage could not be independently verified.

The military has shelled and bombed Maarat al-Numan, 300km north of Damascus, since rebels took it last month.

Two rebels were killed and ten wounded in an air strike on al-Mubarkiyeh, 6km south of Homs, where rebels have besieged a compound guarding a tank maintenance facility.

Opposition sources said the facility had been used to shell Sunni villages near the Lebanese border.

The army also fired mortar bombs into the Damascus district of Hammouria, killing at least eight people, activists said.

UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has said he will pursue his peace efforts despite the failure of his appeal for a pause in fighting for the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday.

UN chief Ban ki-Moon said he was "deeply disappointed that the parties failed to respect the call to suspend fighting".

"This crisis cannot be solved with more weapons and bloodshed ... the guns must fall silent."

Keywords: syria