Russian strikes kills 18
Published Sunday, November 29, 2015 7:45AM EST
BEIRUT — Airstrikes believed to have been carried out by Russian warplanes killed at least 18 people and wounded dozens more on Sunday in a northern Syrian town held by insurgents, Syrian opposition media reported.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the airstrikes struck the town of Ariha, killing at least 18 people and wounding dozens more. The Local Coordination Committees, an activist collective, said the airstrikes struck a busy market, inflicting heavy casualties.
The Observatory, which relies on a network of activists inside Syria, said the airstrike destroyed three buildings in the centre of Ariha.
Ariha Today, a Facebook page that covers events in the town, said the airstrikes were carried out by Russian warplanes, killing 40 people and wounding more than 70. Conflicting tolls are common in the chaotic aftermath of violent incidents in Syria.
If Russian warplanes carried out Sunday’s strikes it would be one of the deadliest incidents since Moscow began launching airstrikes in Syria two months ago. Opposition activists say scores of people have been killed by Russian strikes since the air campaign began on Sept. 30.
An amateur video posted online showed several men being treated on the floor of what appeared to be a clinic. Blood stains could be seen on the floor’s white tiles. On the street outside, four men could be seen lying near the building, with several young men weeping over them.
Shortly afterward, an ambulance arrived and a wounded man in a wheelchair was carried into the clinic.
The video appeared genuine and corresponded to other AP reporting of the event.
Russia says its airstrikes are targeting the Islamic State group and other “terrorists,” but Western officials and Syrian rebels say most of the strikes have focused on central and northern Syria, where IS does not have a strong presence.
Syria’s conflict has killed more than 250,000 people and wounded more than a million since the start of an uprising against President Bashar Assad in 2011.