Last updated: 20 January, 2013

Five family members die in Syrian air raid, says watchdog

Five members of one family were killed in air raids on a town in Damascus province on Sunday, as Syrian warplanes bombed opposition strongholds nationwide, a watchdog said.

A couple and their three children were among 13 civilians killed in air strikes on the village of Baraka, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding the toll may rise as a number of people were buried under debris.

The Britain-based watchdog also reported a man killed by sniper fire amid artillery shelling and air raids on Daraya, strategically located next to Al-Mazzeh military airport east of Damascus.

Pro-regime daily Al-Watan said “the terrorists on the outskirts of Daraya and Moadamiyet al-Sham have appealed for help after being hit very hard by the Syrian army, which destroyed several of the hideouts where they barricaded themselves.”

The newspaper added the army would press its ground assault “to root out the remaining terrorists”, an umbrella reference to the rebels against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

In Idlib province, at least 10 rebels including a battalion commander were killed in combat at an army checkpoint near Wadi Deif base, one of the last garrisons in the regime’s hands in the northwest, said the Observatory.

Warplanes were strafing insurgent positions around Wadi Deif, while elsewhere in northern Syria, rebels launched assaults against troops outside the Menegh and Kweyris military airports, it added.

The military also carried out air strikes on districts in the central city of Homs which have been under siege for months, as well as in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.

The Observatory, which relies on a network of activists and medics in civilian and military hospitals, gave an initial toll of 72 people killed nationwide on Sunday, including 28 in the Damascus region alone.