Thursday 18 December 2014

44 dead in government airstrikes in northern Syria

Published 23/11/2013 | 20:43

People search for survivors amid the rubble of collapsed buildings after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Karam el-Beik district of Aleppo November 23, 2013. Air strikes around the northern Syrian city of Aleppo killed at least 40 people on Saturday, most of them civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. REUTERS/Saad AboBrahim  (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT)
People search for survivors amid the rubble of collapsed buildings after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Karam el-Beik district of Aleppo November 23, 2013.
A man reacts as people search for survivors amid the rubble of collapsed buildings after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Karam el-Beik district of Aleppo November 23, 2013.
Men hold a girl that survived shelling, while people search for survivors amid the rubble of collapsed buildings after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Karam el-Beik district of Aleppo November 23, 2013.
Air strikes around the northern Syrian city of Aleppo killed at least 40 people on Saturday, most of them civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Men carry a woman that survived shelling, while people search for survivors amid the rubble of collapsed buildings after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Karam el-Beik district of Aleppo November 23, 2013.
A boy reacts while people search for survivors amid the rubble of collapsed buildings after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Karam el-Beik district of Aleppo November 23, 2013.
People search for survivors amid the rubble of collapsed buildings after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Karam el-Beik district of Aleppo November 23, 2013.
Air strikes around the northern Syrian city of Aleppo killed at least 40 people on Saturday, most of them civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
People push a car while searching for survivors amid the rubble of collapsed buildings after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Karam el-Beik district of Aleppo November 23, 2013.
A woman reacts as people search for survivors amid the rubble of collapsed buildings after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Karam el-Beik district of Aleppo November 23, 2013.
A man carries a girl that survived shelling as people search for survivors amid the rubble of collapsed buildings after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Karam el-Beik district of Aleppo November 23, 2013.
A man carries a girl that survived shelling as people search for survivors amid the rubble of collapsed buildings after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Karam el-Beik district of Aleppo November 23, 2013.
Airstrikes by President Assad's regime have killed at least 44 people, activists say

A string of government airstrikes on rebel-held areas of northern Syria have killed at least 44 people, activists said, as al-Qaida-linked rebels captured one of the country's oil field in the east.

Rami Abdurrahman, the director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the attack on the rebel-held town of al-Bab near the northern city of Aleppo is the deadliest of the three raids. He said that strike killed 22 people.

Fighter jets also bombed two rebel-held districts of Aleppo, Syria's largest city. Government warplanes missed their target in the Halwaniyeh neighborhood and sent bombs into a crowded vegetable market, killing 15 people, Abdurrahman said. Seven people died in a third airstrike in the Karam el-Beik district, according to the activist group.

Syrian state television confirmed the fighter jets were in the north, but said they targeted "gatherings of terrorists" in Aleppo, killing a large number of them.

Another activist group, the Aleppo Media Network, confirmed Saturday's airstrikes and posted a video of what it says was the aftermath of the al-Bab raid.

Meanwhile, fighters from al-Qaida-linked Jabhat al-Nusra ousted government troops from the al-Omar field on Saturday during an overnight battle, Abdurrahman said.

It is not clear if the field is operational. Before the uprising began in early 2011, the oil revenues provided around a quarter of the government's budget. In 2010, Syria produced about 380,000 barrels a day.

Oil exports have ground to nearly a standstill since. Syrian president Bashar Assad's government now imports refined fuel supplies to keep up with demand amid shortages and rising prices.

In late 2012, rebels began seizing fields in Deir el-Zour, one of two main centres of oil production. In February, they captured the large Jbeysa oil field after three days of fighting. A year ago, rebels briefly captured al-Omar field only to lose it to government troops days later.

Also on Saturday, a pro-government television station said gunmen fired at a vehicle belonging to a Syrian Cabinet minister, killing his driver. Minister Ali Haider was not in the car when it came under fire while travelling on a highway that links the central city of Hama with Tartous on the Mediterranean coast.

Syria's civil war started as a peaceful uprising against Mr Assad that deteriorated into civil war after a government forces violently cracked down on protesters. The conflict has killed some 120,000 people, activists say. The United Nations said in July that 100,000 Syrians have been killed. Millions of Syrians have been uprooted from their homes because of the fighting.

Press Association

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