Syria pounds anti-regime strongholds, 27 killed
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AFP) — Syrian troops rained shells on several areas of the northwestern province of Idlib on Thursday, where anti-regime sentiment is strong, as a total of 27 people were killed across the country, monitors said.
They shelled Maaret al-Numan, site of frequent violence, killing six people including a man, a woman and their child, said the Britainbased Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
They also pounded the village of Al-Tah, killing at least five people, the watchdog said, adding that dozens were wounded, some critically.
An amateur video posted on YouTube and distributed by the Observatory showed gruesome images of bloodied bodies sprawled on the floor of a house.
A man picked up the hand of one of the victims of the shelling, which had been severed. “God curse you, O Bashar!” the amateur cameraman cried out in despair, describing the events as a “massacre committed by the regime.”
Elsewhere, a rebel was killed in clashes with regime forces in the southeastern province of Daraa, cradle of the 16-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, the Observatory said, noting that the battle took place near the border with Jordan.
And in the central province of Homs, a brigadier general was killed in a targeted assassination near the village of Shanshar.
Rebel forces also hit a helicopter in the district of Baba Amr, around which rebels and troops have engaged in fierce fighting in recent weeks, the Observatory said.
It is not possible to independently verify death tolls for the conflict in Syria since the UN at the end of 2011 ceased compiling such figures.
However, the Observatory estimates that more than 16,500 people have been killed since the uprising erupted in mid-March last year.