Dawn News

Air strike kills 54 in Syria

DAMASCUS, Sept 20: At least 54 people were killed on Thursday when a Syrian air strike hit a fuel station in the northern province of Al Raqqa, an area of heavy fighting between government and rebel forces.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a network of activists across Syria reporting on government violence during the 18-month-old revolt, cited an activist in the region as saying that more than 110 people were dead or wounded.

The strike came a day after insurgents seized a border crossing with Turkey some 30 kilometres away on the northern fringes of Al Raqqa province, consolidating their grip on a frontier through which they ferry arms for battle.

President Bashar al Assad has used helicopters and fighter jets to fire at and bomb parts of the country where insurgents have been operating, including residential districts of the capital and Syria’s main cities.

Assad’s forces have targeted petrol stations in rural towns and villages and along main roads to deprive rebels of fuel. Civilians have set up smaller, discreet fuel outlets.

Activists say more than 27,000 people have been killed in a conflict that began with peaceful street protests and mushroomed into civil war after Assad tried military force to stamp out the unrest. Last month was the bloodiest yet.—Reuters

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