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  Syrian Army shelling kills over 30

Syrian Army shelling kills over 30

AFP | MAYA GEBEILY
Published : Jul 3, 2016, 6:06 am IST
Updated : Jul 3, 2016, 6:06 am IST

Heavy regime bombardment of a rebel-held Syrian town on Saturday killed more than 30 people, including two medical staff, as a two-year local truce broke down.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia (Photo: PTI/File)
 Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia (Photo: PTI/File)

Heavy regime bombardment of a rebel-held Syrian town on Saturday killed more than 30 people, including two medical staff, as a two-year local truce broke down.

The raids attest to intensifying violence in Syria despite international efforts aimed at bolstering a nationwide ceasefire between government forces and non-jihadist rebels. Saturday’s shelling hit the town of Jayrud, 60 kilometres (35 miles) northeast of Damascus, where the Army said Islamist militants killed a regime pilot after he was forced to eject on Friday. In a statement, the military had pledged that the attack on its pilot “will not go unpunished”.

 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday’s bombardment of Jayrud was the first there in at least two years. “Prominent figures in Jayrud have had a local truce with the regime for at least two years, and neither fired on each other,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. He said artillery fire and airstrikes on the town killed at least 31 people, including two medics. It was not immediately clear how many were civilians.

Anti-regime groups in Jayrud include the Saudi-backed Jaish al-Islam, the hardline Ahrar al-Sham, and Al Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front. Ahrar al-Sham said in a statement on Saturday it was attacking nearby government positions “in response to warplanes shelling Jayrud”. Activists in the town said the head of the local medical centre and several colleagues were killed. “There have been at least 45 air strikes today. The town’s medical centre was hit and its director Amjad al-Danaf was killed,” activist Abu Malek al-Jayrudi told AFP via the Internet. He said the town is home to some 60,000 people and that the bombardment had not stopped since early Saturday.

 

Several government aircraft have been shot down by rebels or crashed because of technical faults since the civil war erupted five years ago. According to the Observatory, three Syrian officers were killed on Friday when their helicopter crashed in the south near territory held by the jihadists.

Location: Lebanon, Beirut