Death toll from airstrikes on market in Syria climbs to 61
A Syrian war monitoring group on Tuesday raised the death toll from airstrikes on a market in a northern, rebel-held town in Syria the previous day to 61 as rescue workers continued searching for victims buried under the rubble.
According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, there were at least three airstrikes on the market in the town of Atareb. Those killed included six women, five children and three police officers, according to the monitoring group. The Observatory’s director, Rami Abdurrahman, says the rest were male civilians.
Atareb and the countryside around it remain outside the control of the government in Damascus. Government forces retook the nearby city of Aleppo, Syria’s largest, following a ferocious assault on the rebel-held neighbourhoods there in 2015.
The town population has swelled with the arrival of Syrians fleeing from the fighting elsewhere in the country’s north. Atarab’s market drew not just the townspeople but also shoppers from the countryside and nearby villages.
“You can see the body fragments in the rubble,” said Yasser Hmeish, a medical technician at the scene. “This morning I saw civilians and rescue workers trying to lift the cement chunks to find the missing.”
“There were restaurants, mobile phone shops, butchers: it was a market in the full sense of the word,” Hmeish added. “It’s been completely destroyed.”
The airstrikes ripped through the market, crushed buildings and damaged an adjacent traffic police station. Survivors found limbs in the rubble and corpses with their heads crushed by the pressure of the blasts.