Death toll in Syria mar­ket air raid hits 61

Six women, five chil­dren and three po­lice of­fi­cers among dead, says ob­ser­va­tory

The Gulf Today - - Middle East -

BEIRUT: Syr­ian res­cue work­ers on Tues­day con­tin­ued their search for vic­tims still un­der the rub­ble a day af­ter airstrikes hit a busy mar­ket in a rebel-held town in the coun­try’s north, killing at least 61 peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to a mon­i­tor­ing group and res­cuers.

Ac­cord­ing to the Bri­tain-based Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights, there were at least three airstrikes on the mar­ket in the town of Atareb on Mon­day - those killed in­cluded six women, ive chil­dren and three po­lice ofi­cers. The Ob­ser­va­tory’s di­rec­tor, Rami Ab­dur­rah­man, said the rest were male civil­ians.

The Syr­ian Civil De­fence search-an­dres­cue vol­un­teers, known as the White Hel­mets, told me­dia they gave up hope of in­d­ing more sur­vivors af­ter dawn, though re­cov­ery ef­forts con­tin­ued. They said the death toll had climbed to at least 61 on Tues­day; 90 peo­ple were in­jured.

The Bri­tain-based mon­i­tor said it was not clear whether the bomb­ing raids had been car­ried out by Syr­ian gov­ern­ment war­planes, or those of its ally Rus­sia.

A pho­tog­ra­pher on th scene saw mas­sive de­struc­tion at the scene on Mon­day, with rub­ble from dam­aged build­ings cov­er­ing the street and pan­icked civil­ians car­ry­ing away the wounded.

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 swelled with the ar­rival of Syr­i­ans who led from ight­ing 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 ind 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.” Videos from the scene show a to­tally col­lapsed build­ing amid other smaller build­ings, and res­cuers step­ping over the rub­ble to get to the ar­eas where they pull out sur­vivors.

The airstrikes ripped through the mar­ket, crushed build­ings and dam­aged an ad­ja­cent trafic po­lice sta­tion. Sur­vivors found limbs in the rub­ble and bod­ies with heads crushed by the pres­sure of the blasts.

Agence France-presse

Shelves re­main stand­ing amidst the rub­ble fol­low­ing an air strike the pre­vi­ous day on the north­ern rebel-held Syr­ian town of Atareb on Tues­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Bahrain

© PressReader. All rights reserved.