Air force bombs rebels besieging Syrian base: NGO

AFP , Friday 19 Oct 2012

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says air force carried attacks against rebels camping near a military base in the province of Idlib

Syria's air force carried out raids on Friday morning against rebels besieging a major military base in the northwestern province of Idlib, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"Military aircraft dropped bombs that targeted rebels camped near (the base at) Wadi Deif," concentrating their firepower on the villages of Talmans and Maashemsha, said the Britain-based monitoring group.

The insurgents have launched what they call a "final assault" against the strategic military camp of Wadi Deif where about 250 soldiers have been holed up for days. The base also houses tanks and fuel.

The battle for the base has killed at least six soldiers, according to the Observatory, which said that the facility has been surrounded by around 2,500 rebel fighters.

To the west of the base, regime warplanes battered a residential area of the rebel-held town of Maaret al-Numan on Thursday, killing at least 49 people, almost half of them children, rescuers told an AFP correspondent at the scene.

The air strikes destroyed two housing complexes and a mosque, where many women and children had been taking refuge, in the strategic northwestern town. Among those killed was a nine-month-old baby.

All of the victims buried under the rubble of the residential buildings had been retrieved, but bodies were still under the rubble of the nearby mosque, according to the rescuers and hospital officials.

Violence across Syria killed 168 people on Thursday -- 70 civilians, 61 soldiers and 37 rebels, said the Observatory, which relies on a network of activists, medics and lawyers for its information.

It says more than 34,000 people have been killed in Syria since the outbreak of an uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in March last year.

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