Conflict & Justice

Syria: Dozens killed in Damascus airstrike while rebels target airbases


Rebel fighters inspect the debris in a street in the Bustan al-Basha district in the northern city of Aleppo on January 1, 2013. Syrians woke up to air strikes near Damascus on New Year's Day and the closure of Aleppo airport after repeated rebel attacks, casting doubts on efforts to end the 21-month conflict.



At least 30 civilians were killed when Syrian warplanes hit a gas station in Damascus, activists reported on Wednesday.

"I counted at least 30 bodies. They were either burnt or dismembered," said Abu Saeed, an activist, according to Reuters. Another activist, Abu Fouad, said the warplanes struck just as a consignment of fuel had arrived.

CNN reported a higher number, citing the opposition group Local Coordination Committees of Syria, which said at least 50 people had died and dozens more had been wounded in the airstrike.

"The number of martyrs is likely to be increased due to continuous pulling of the bodies from under the rubble," said the LCC.

In total, around 105 people were killed in Syria on Wednesday, said CNN.

The grim news came as Syrian rebels clashed with President Bashar al-Assad's forces at a military airbase in Idlib. Among the fighters was an Islamist group that has been branded a terrorist organization by the United States, according to Bloomberg.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said opposition fighters appeared to be attempting to storm the airbase. Bloomberg noted that Assad's forces have lost barracks, airbases, heavy weapons and oilfields in the recent stages of a bloody civil war, now in its 22nd month.

The latest figures from the United Nations, according to media reports, suggest at least 60,000 people have died in the conflict. That number is much higher than the figure of 45,000 given by opposition activists.

The Associated Press said the UN's human rights office compared death reports from various sources and came up with a list of 59,648 killed thus far.

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