BEIRUT — Syrian Army airstrikes killed at least 70 people, most of them civilians, and wounded scores in attacks on Saturday in the northern province of Aleppo. Activists said that civilian areas, including a packed market in a town held by the Islamic State group, were hit.
The deaths occurred in two separate strikes when helicopters dropped explosives-filled barrels. One barrel hit the rebel-held Shaar neighborhood in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. At least 12 people, most of them from the same family, were killed. They included three children and four women, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The other attack was far deadlier, hitting a busy market known as Souk al-Hal in the Islamic State-held town of Bab, in Aleppo’s countryside. The Observatory said at least 59 people were killed and dozens wounded, calling it the one of the worst massacres committed by President Bashar al-Assad’s army this year. It said the number of dead would probably rise because many of the wounded were in critical condition.
The Local Coordination Committees reported more than 50 people killed and about 70 wounded in the Bab attack. Both groups document violence through a network of activists on the ground in Syria.
Bab is controlled by the Islamic State group, which also confirmed the attack in a statement posted on Twitter. It said 50 people were killed in a “devastating massacre” committed by army helicopters.
Aleppo, once Syria’s commercial hub, has been divided between government and opposition forces since mid-2012, and fighting there has raged since.
The Syrian military has suffered a series of embarrassing setbacks in northern Syria recently as insurgents captured the city of Idlib and almost all of Idlib Province. The Islamic State group has also pushed into central Syria, seizing the ancient city of Palmyra after government forces fled the area.
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(via NY Times)