Syria airstrike death toll rises to 76
BEIRUT // Syrian government aircraft pounded opposition areas near the southern border with Jordan and in the northern city of Aleppo on Monday, a day after a series of airstrikes on the contested city killed at least 76 people, activists said.
President Bashar Al Assad’s air force is his greatest advantage in the country’s civil war, and he has successfully exploited it to push back against rebel advances across the country and to target civilian areas sympathetic to the opposition. Human rights groups say Syrian military aircraft have carried out indiscriminate air raids that frequently hit civilian targets, such as hospitals, bakeries and residential areas.
On Monday, Syrian government warplanes bombed the southern province of Daraa, hitting the villages of Inkhil and Jassem, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights. There was no immediate word on casualties.
The Observatory, which monitors the conflict through a network of activists on the ground, also reported air raids Monday on Aleppo, a day after government helicopters dropped barrels packed with explosives on opposition neighbourhoods in the city.
The government frequently uses barrel bombs, which contain hundreds of kilograms (pounds) of explosives and cause massive damage on impact.
The Observatory raised its death toll from Sunday’s carnage, saying at least 76 people were killed, including 28 children. Another activist group, the Local Coordination Committees, put the death toll at 83. It said that number is likely to rise because of the large number of wounded and the lack of sufficient medical supplies.
* Associated Press
Published: December 16, 2013 04:00 AM