Air strike kills dozens of Syrians waiting to buy bread

Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:31pm EST
 

By Erika Solomon

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Dozens of people were killed and many more wounded in a Syrian government air strike that hit a bakery where a crowd was queuing for bread on Sunday, activists said.

If confirmed, the attack on Halfaya in central Syria, which was seized by rebels last week, would be one of the deadliest air strikes of Syria's civil war.

Videos uploaded by activists showed dozens of bloodstained corpses lying amid rubble and shrapnel. An adolescent boy with both his feet blown off lay flailing in the middle of a road.

"When I got there, I could see piles of bodies all over the ground. There were women and children," said Samer al-Hamawi, an activist in the town. "There are also dozens of wounded people."

Residents of Halfaya told Reuters they estimated 90 dead. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based group with a network of activists across Syria, counted 60 killed.

"The number is likely to rise because there are dozens of wounded being treated in the area and nearby hospitals, among them 50 in critical condition," it said.

Activists say more than 44,000 people have been killed in the 21 months since protests erupted against President Bashar al-Assad, inspired by the Arab Spring revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere.

Amid the latest carnage, United Nations-backed crisis mediator Lakhdar Brahimi arrived for more talks in Syria. He had to drive from neighboring Lebanon because fighting around Damascus International Airport has effectively shut it down.   Continued...