• Syrian government airstrike kills at least 21 in Aleppo
    By RYAN LUCAS
    The Associated Press | December 29,2013
    • Email Article
    •  
    •  Print Article
     
    ALEPPO, Syria — A government airstrike hit a crowded vegetable market in a rebel-held neighborhood of the northern city of Aleppo on Saturday, killing at least 21 people, activists said.

    For nearly two weeks, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s warplanes and helicopters have pounded opposition-controlled areas of the divided city. Activists say the aerial assault has killed more than 400 people since it began Dec. 15.

    The campaign comes in the run-up to an international peace conference scheduled to start Jan. 22 in Switzerland to try to find a political solution to Syria’s civil war.

    Some observers say the Aleppo assault fits into Assad’s apparent strategy of trying to expose the opposition’s weakness to strengthen his own hand ahead of the negotiations.

    Saturday’s airstrike slammed into a marketplace in the Tariq al-Bab neighborhood, the Aleppo Media Center activist group and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

    The Observatory, which relies on a network of activists on the ground, said 25 people, including four children, were killed and dozens were wounded in the strike. The Aleppo Media Center published a list of 21 names of people it said were killed in the air raid.

    The discrepancy could not be immediate reconciled, but differing death tolls are common in the chaotic aftermath of such attacks.

    An activist with the Aleppo Media Center, Hassoun Abu Faisal, said the airstrike took place around 10 a.m. local time when the market was packed with shoppers.

    “Cars were damaged, debris and rubble are everywhere,” he said. “Many of the wounded have lost limbs.”

    Both Abu Faisal and the Observatory reported airstrikes in other opposition-held areas of Aleppo, including Myassar, although there was no immediate word on casualties.

    Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, has been a major front in the country’s civil war since rebels launched an offensive there in mid-2012. The city has been heavily damaged since then in fighting that has left it divided into rebel- and government-controlled areas.

    At the Vatican, meanwhile, a Syrian delegation delivered a message from Assad to Pope Francis during a meeting with the Holy See’s No. 2 Secretary of State, Monsignor Pietro Parolin, the Vatican said. It did not disclose the contents of the Syrian leader’s message, nor the pope’s reaction.

    The pontiff has called for an end to the hostilities in Syria, most recently on Christmas.
    • Email Article
    •  
    •  Print Article
    2 Comments
    MORE IN Wire News
    ATLANTA — A man shot by police officers who went to the wrong Atlanta house ran bleeding outside... Full Story
    Man and officer wounded, dog killed in police address mix-up
    BEIRUT — Lebanese protesters marched into the Environment Ministry in downtown Beirut Tuesday,... Full Story
    Beirut: Protestors stage sit-in over trash
    TORONTO — Prime Minister Stephen Harper, campaigning for a fourth term on a record of economic... Full Story
    Canada in recession; PM Harper says it isn’t so
    More Articles