Death toll from airstrikes on mar­ket in Syria climbs to 61

Truro Daily News - - Classifieds/world -

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.

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