- Special Pages
Moroccan King Mohammed VI (centre) is greeted by Syrian refugees during his visit to Moroccan military portable hospital at the Zaatri Syrian refugee camp near the border with Syria, yesterday.
MAARET AL-NUMAN, Syria: Syrian fighter jets blasted the rebel-held town of Maaret Al Numan yesterday, killing at least 44 people, rescuers said, adding urgency to truce calls by peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.
Rescuers said bombs destroyed two residential buildings and a mosque, where many women and children were taking refuge, in the strategic northwestern town, which was captured by rebels on October 9 in a push to create a buffer zone along the Turkish border.
“We have recovered 44 corpses from under the rubble,” one worker said at the scene.
In a makeshift field hospital, a journalist saw 12 corpses wrapped in white sheets, and plastic bags marked “body parts.”
The correspondent said one child was decapitated while the body of a second, still on his bicycle, was pulled from the rubble.
“At the moment it seems only three people survived the attack, including a two-year-old child,” said medic Jaffar Sharhoub. “He survived in the arms of his dead father.”
A resident who spoke on condition of anonymity said several of the those killed had just returned to their homes. “They thought the danger had passed.”
Several fighter jets flew over Maaret
Al Numan and the surrounding area throughout yesterday morning.
They made short dives to drop at least 10 bombs on the town and its eastern outskirts, near the besieged Wadi Deif army base which came under heavy bombardment by the rebels.
In early evening, the rebels launched what they said was a “final assault” on the base, which is a key depot for tanks and fuel supplies.
Hundreds of fighters attacked the base, a frontline correspondent reported. Three tanks were destroyed and at least six soldiers surrendered, rebel officers said.
The base is situated two kilometres from the Damascus-Aleppo highway, of which the rebels control a stretch of several kilometres. That is severely impairing the army’s ability to resupply units under fire in the northern metropolis for the past
In the capital, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up just 300 metres (yards) from the interior ministry without causing any casualties, a security
The bombing came on the eve of Brahimi’s arrival in Damascus to press his call for a ceasefire during the four-day Eid Al Adha Muslim holiday starting on October 26.
Speaking in neighbouring Jordan, the UN-Arab League envoy said he hoped that such a temporary ceasefire could form the basis for a longer lasting truce, warning that the alternative would be disastrous for the whole region.