Syria airstrike kills 49

2012-10-19 08:55
Syrian people pull the body of a victim from the rubble of a building destroyed in an airstrike by Syrian government forces in Maaret al-Numaan. (Bulent Kilic, AFP)

Syrian people pull the body of a victim from the rubble of a building destroyed in an airstrike by Syrian government forces in Maaret al-Numaan. (Bulent Kilic, AFP)

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Maaret Al-Numan - Syrian fighter jets blasted the rebel-held town of Maaret al-Numan on Thursday, killing at least 49 people, including 23 children, in a further escalation of violence in the war-torn country, rescuers said.

Amid the bloodshed, the UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi pressed for a truce during a key Muslim holiday later this month, while the UN's human rights chief appealed to the Security Council for unity over the crisis.

Rescuers said bombs destroyed two residential buildings and a mosque, where many women and children had been taking refuge, in the strategic north-western town. Among those killed was a nine-month-old baby.

Rebels captured the town on 9 October in a push to create a buffer zone along the Turkish border.

"We have recovered 44 corpses from under the rubble," one worker said correspondent at the scene.

In a makeshift field hospital, the correspondent saw at least 32 bodies wrapped in white sheets, including six children and many mutilated corpses, as well as plastic bags marked "body parts".

One child was decapitated, the correspondent said. The body of a second was pulled from the rubble while still on his bicycle.

"At the moment it seems only three people survived the attack, including a 2-year-old child," said medic Jaffar Sharhoub. "He survived in the arms of his dead father."

Several fighter jets flew over Maaret al-Numan and the surrounding area throughout Thursday morning.

Read more on:    un  |  lakhdar brahimi  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings

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