Monday, November 30, 2015

Mass casualties as Russian jets strike Syrian town

Mass casualties as Russian jets strike Syrian town



Russian warplanes struck a market in Ariha in Idlib province, northwestern Syria killing at least 44 and injuring dozens others on Sunday, sources tell al-Araby al-Jadeed.
As Russian military intervention in Syria enters its third month, Russian warplanes have reportedly carried out a new massacre on Sunday in rebel-held Idlib province.

In a second, the hustle and bustle of street trading in the town of Ariha, northwestern Syria, was reduced to a deadly silence.

Dozens were killed or injured, many critically, according to residents and activists in the town. 

Immediately after the strikes, Ibrahim al-Idilbi told al-Araby al-Jadeed's Arabic service at least 26 bodies had been buried by Sunday noon, but said the death toll was likely to rise further as many were trapped under the rubble.

By Monday morning, the death toll rose to 44, according to news reports.

Graphic footage was posted online later by activists showing the extent of the devastation and carnage.

The Russian Defence Ministry is yet to comment on the reports.

Ariha fell to rebels in May during an advance that resulted in the whole of Idlib province falling to the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad.

Rebels in Idlib include the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front. The province is not a stronghold of Islamic State (IS) that controls wide areas of eastern Syria.

Russia began a major aerial campaign on 30 September to help its ally Assad, who suffered a series of setbacks earlier this year - including the loss of Idlib province and areas near the coast, which is of crucial strategic importance.

Residents and rebels says warplanes, believed to be Russian, have stepped up raids on residential areas in several major cities in north-western Syria, within a radius of 10 to 30 kilometres from the Turkish border, following Turkey's downing of a Russian fighter jet last week.

Monitors, such as the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), have documented hundreds of casualties reportedly killed by Russian airstrikes in the past two months.

[Click to enlarge]
Read more: Russian bombing 'killed hundreds' of civilians in Syria

In Daria in Damascus's Western Ghouta, meanwhile, regime forces dropped more than 20 barrel bombs, according to the opposition-aligned Daria Media Centre. 

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The Syrian air force itself has been relentlessly bombing civilian areas in rebel-held territory since September 2011.

Syrian helicopters routinely drop crude barrel bombs on rebel-held areas indiscriminately, killing thousands of civilians in the course of the nearly five-year conflict.

Earlier this year, Amnesty said Assad's barrel bombs have killed nearly 11,000 civilians in total. In 2015 alone, barrel bombs have killed at least 2916 civilians, including 665 children, according to monitors and human rights group.
[Click to enlarge]

No comments: