AMMAN — Syrian warplanes bombed rebel targets with renewed intensity yesterday after the end of a widely ignored four-day truce between President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and insurgents.
State television said “terrorists” had assassinated an air force general, Abdullah Mahmoud al-Khalidi, in a Damascus suburb, the latest of several rebel attacks on senior officials.
In July, a bomb killed four of Assad’s aides, including his brother-in-law Assef Shawkat and the defence minister.
Air strikes hit eastern suburbs of Damascus, outlying areas in the central city of Homs, and the northern rebel-held town of Maarat al-Numan on the Damascus-Aleppo highway, activists said.
Rebels have been attacking army bases in al-Hamdaniya and Wadi al-Deif, on the outskirts of Maarat al-Numan.
Some activists said 28 civilians had been killed in Maarat al-Numan and released video footage of men retrieving a toddler’s body from a flattened building. The men cursed Assad as they dragged the dead girl, wearing a colourful overall, from the debris. The footage could not be independently verified.
The military has shelled and bombed Maarat al-Numan, 300 kilometres north of Damascus, since rebels took it last month.
“The rebels have evacuated their positions inside Maarat al-Numaan since the air raids began. They are mostly on the frontline south of the town,” activist Mohammed Kanaan said.
Maarat al-Numan and other Sunni towns in northwestern Idlib province are mostly hostile to Assad’s ruling system, dominated by his minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam. (Reuters)
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