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DAMASCUS: Syrian warplanes pounded a rebel-held area of Homs yesterday in the heaviest bombardment of the city for months, monitors said, after the UN condemned the army’s deadly shelling of a Turkish border town.
The United Nations Security Council also condemned “terrorist” car bomb attacks that killed almost 50 people in Syria’s second city Aleppo on Wednesday.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman reported that the bombardment of Khaldiyeh district was the most intense of Homs in five months, and the first time the regime has deployed fighter jets against the city. Activist network the Syrian Revolution General Council said a series of explosions rocked the neighbourhood after the bombing raids.
Rebel fighters hit back by downing a regime helicopter gunship in Damascus province and seizing an army checkpoint outside the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, killing at least 12 troops, said the Observatory.
“Allahu akbar! (God is greatest). The helicopter is falling!” a youth yelled as an aircraft was seen tumbling from the sky in flames on an amateur video that activists posted on the Internet.
The Observatory reported five civilians and one rebel killed in the central city and province of Homs, updating its Friday death toll to 64 nationwide -- including 28 soldiers, 21 civilians and 15 rebel fighters.
In the hill resort of Zabadani, a rebel bastion outside Damascus, two civilians were killed in an army bombardment, the watchdog added. The army also battered rebel strongholds in Aleppo, Daraa, Deir Ezzor, Idlib and Latakia, said the Britain-based Observatory, reporting clashes in each region.