Syria air strikes ‘kill dozens in rebel town’.
Syrian air strikes on a besieged rebel town in the heart of the country have killed nearly 50 people in recent days, a monitoring group said on Wednesday. A rebel commander, seven women and a child were among 25 people killed in air strikes on Talbisseh in Homs province on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
A day earlier air strikes killed 23 people in the same town, which has been under siege by the army ever since rebels seized it two years ago.
The rebels pledged to “avenge” those killed, as a new air strike Wednesday left one woman dead.
About 191,000 people have been killed since an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad erupted in 2011.
The conflict began as a popular revolt demanding Assad’s ouster but quickly escalated into a brutal civil war that brought jihadists streaming into the country.
Activists described the Talbisseh casualty toll as a “massacre” while appealing for help on Facebook.
“The town’s hospital has received a large number of wounded patients. The hospital has no more medicines or bandages,” said one activist from Talbisseh.
A security source in Damascus identified the dead rebel commander as Abu Hatem al-Dahik, head of the Al-Iman Brigade, describing him as “Talbisseh’s most important terrorist”.
The regime has systematically blamed all violence on a foreign-backed “terrorist” plot.
“We will continue to target the terrorists in all their hideouts,” the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The Britain-based Observatory, which tracks the conflict, said that rebels in Talbisseh had shelled regime positions around the nearby rebel-held town of Umm Sharshuh as fighting raged around it.
The towns are among a number that the rebels still hold in Homs province after their withdrawal from Homs city earlier year.
According to Mahmud al-Lowz, an activist from the north of Homs province, Assad’s regime is targeting areas that refuse to enter a “national reconciliation process” with the government.
“Talbisseh is very much opposed to the regime, and it is the strongest (rebel position) in the north of Homs province,” he told AFP via the Internet.
The Observatory also said the toll in a failed rebel attempt in Damascus to infiltrate the Old City on Monday had risen to 18 opposition fighters and two pro-regime militiamen killed.
In Douma, a besieged rebel bastion northeast of Damascus, six people died in air strikes on Wednesday, while a child was killed in the nearby town of Saqba.
Another six people died in an air raid on the northern city of Aleppo, the Observatory said.
In central Damascus one person was killed by rebel fire from the city’s outskirts, the state SANA news agency reported.