“We have received at least 44 dead bodies, many were children,” doctor Nader Jaffar Sharhoub said, as he rushed to treat the wounded in a makeshift hospital set up in a school. “There are some 30 people still missing.”
Jets began overflying and bombarding Maaret Al-Numan, located on the main Damascus-Aleppo highway, in the early hours of the morning, targeting the strategic town and its periphery.
The strike on the apartment block left scenes of horror, with body parts — arms, legs and horribly mutilated trunks — being were pulled from the rubble, placed on blankets and then driven away in pick-up trucks.
Residents, their faces covered in white dust, screamed and wailed as they searched for their loved ones among the rubble.
Fighters opened fire into the sky with heavy machineguns as they tried to down the warplanes streaking overhead. On Wednesday they managed to hit a helicopter gunship with gunfire near Maaret Al-Numan, causing it to explode and crash.
In a bid to limit pilots’ visibility, residents of Maaret Al-Numan yesterday set fire to rows of tires along the main roads, producing towers of black smoke.
Not far from the town, fighters launched yesterday an intense mortar bombardment of the army base at Wadi Deif which they have been besieging for the past week.
Some 250 regime troops are holed up in the base, along with large amounts of ammunition, rebels told AFP.
Wadi Deif is located on an important pipeline that supplies fuel to the northern city of Aleppo, Syria’s second-largest and theatre of combat since July 20.
The Observatory said that yesterday Syrian jets bombed Maarhtat and Bsida, where the helicopter was downed the day before.
In Aleppo, the military pounded fighter-held neighborhoods of Shaar and Sukkari, as well as two nearby villages, the Observatory said.
In the central province of Homs, the military bombed the town of Qusayr, another opposition stronghold which government troops have besieged for several days, said the Observatory.
Also in Homs, bombing killed three children, including one whose head was blown off, in the central town of Houla, near to a village where at least 108 people died a massacre in May, most of them women and children.
Meanwhile nine bodies were found in the Yarmuk neighborhood of the capital Damascus, the Observatory added, without identifying them.
Source: Arab News