Syrian rocket attack kills at least 25 people at bakery
BEIRUT -- At least 25 people waiting for bread outside a bakery were killed Thursday morning as forces loyal to the Syrian government continue to pound the embattled city of Aleppo, activists said.
A rocket fired by a warplane struck the bakery in the rebel-held Qadi Askar neighborhood as a crowd was lined up to buy bread, a staple of the Syrian diet, they said. Faced with a flour shortage across the city, bakeries are regularly inundated with hungry customers trying to buy a few loaves.
Grisly video said to be from the aftermath of the attack showed a line of bodies crumpled on the blood-soaked ground.
“Their goal is terrorizing the people,” said Abu Hashim, an activist in Aleppo.
In another neighborhood, Shiaar, eight people were killed as they tried to flee the intensifying air attacks by President Bashar Assad’s forces, Hashim said.
“The situation is very bad, the electricity is cut and the water is cut and the refugees can’t find a place to flee to,” he said. “Where are the people going to go?”
The accounts of the two attacks could not be independently verified because the Syrian government restricts the access of outside media to the conflict zones.
At least 60 people were killed in Aleppo on Thursday, among the almost 100 killed nationwide, activists said. That came a day after almost 200 people were killed across the country, including at least 30 slain during airstrikes on Azaz, a suburb of Aleppo.
As the violence grew in Aleppo in recent weeks residents fled to the suburbs, which seemed safer. But attacks on the rebel-controlled suburbs has increased recently even as the shelling on the city continues.
The ongoing bloodshed came as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation suspended Syria’s membership and as the United Nations was set to discuss the future of its monitoring mission, which has failed to stem the growing violence.
Meanwhile, United Nations emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos said about 2.5 million Syrians face destitution as fighting becomes more intense in populated areas.
“There is more we could be doing right now in areas that are safe enough and where we have established solid partnerships with NGOs and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent,” Amos said, speaking as she neared the end of a three-day visit to Syria and Lebanon.
-- Times staff
Photo: A Syrian man squats amid rubble after airstrikes Wednesday destroyed at least 10 houses and killed at least 30 people in Azaz, a suburb of Aleppo, according to activists. A rocket reportedly fired by a warplane killed at least 25 more people in Aleppo on Thursday. Credit: Associated Press / Shaam News Network