x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Syrian government's air strikes kill at least 25, including 12 children

Syrian warplanes carry out air strikes on a rebellious neighbourhood of the capital and on a village in the country's north-east, killing at least 25 people, including 12 children, activists say.

BEIRUT // Syrian warplanes carried out air strikes on a rebellious neighbourhood of the capital and on a village in the country's north-east yesterday, killing at least 25 people, including 12 children, activists said.

At least 16 people were killed, including two women and three children, when government jets bombed rebel-held areas in the predominantly Kurdish village of Hadad in the north-eastern province of Hassaka, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Another air strike on the Damascus neighbourhood of Qaboun killed at least nine children, the Observatory said.

The government frequently targets Qaboun, where rebels fighting to overthrow the president, Bashar Al Assad, pushed in early this year. The district has been ravaged by heavy street clashes and shelling since then.

The Sana state news agency said "terrorists" fired mortar rounds that struck a bus station in the Damascus suburb of Jaramana, killing four people and wounding 20. The Syrian regime describes those trying to topple Mr Al Assad as "terrorists".

The observatory also reported that four civilians died after being tortured in a jail in the town of Zakyeh. It did not provide any further details.

In the southern city of Daraa, the Syrian army shot and killed a man, the observatory said.

Rebels have made significant gains in the surrounding province of Daraa, capturing military bases and territory that could provide fighters with a staging ground for an assault on Damascus.

Two rockets fired from Syria exploded in the Lebanese border village of Al Qasr yesterday, killing one person and wounding two, a Lebanese security official said.

Two more rockets landed in a nearby village of Hawsh, killing a 13-year-old boy and damaging two homes, the official said, adding that it was unclear who fired the rockets from Syria.

There has been heavy fighting near the frontier in recent days as Syrian government troops try to regain control of the strategic area from rebels.

Also yesterday, the main western-backed opposition bloc expressed concern about the Islamic extremist rebel faction Jabhat Al Nusra's pledge of allegiance to Al Qaeda last week.