Egypt Independent

Over 20 killed as Syrian troops pound rebel strongholds

Syrian troops bombarded several rebel areas in several parts of the country on Sunday killing at least 25 people, a watchdog said, as an AFP correspondent reported shelling near Aleppo.

A girl was among four people killed when the army rained shells on the town of Rastan, a rebel stronghold in the central province of Homs held by insurgents since February, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

A video provided by local activists shows the child's body covered in blood and dust as it is being retrieved from under the rubble of a house flattened in the shelling.

The army pounded several areas of the city of Homs killing two other civilians, the Britain-based watchdog said.

The eastern oil city of Deir al-Zor also came under heavy shelling and five people, including two rebels, were killed, the watchdog said, adding that three others died in fighting between troops and rebels near the Albu Omar oilfield.

A male nurse also died in prison in Deir al-Zor after being tortured.

In the central province of Hama, two civilians were killed and others wounded in bombing of Qalet al-Madiq. In the same region, the military also stormed the villages of Jreires and Maarzaf, using heavy weapons.

The so-called Kurdish mountains region of Latakia were also the target of heavy bombing, while in Damascus soldiers were wounded in an explosion near the southern neighborhood of Zuhur, the Observatory said.

In the city of Daraa, the cradle of the uprising against the regime, a civilian and two rebels were killed in an assault by government forces, while there were reports of casualties among regime troops.

In the province of Idlib, near the Turkish border, three soldiers were killed in fighting with rebels in areas of Jisr al-Shughur from where sounds of explosions could also be heard, the Observatory said, adding that two civilians were also killed at the entrance of Salqine village by machine gun fire.

An AFP reporter said there was also steady bombardment for nearly six hours about 30 kilometers west of Aleppo, Syria's second city and commercial hub, although there were no immediate details of any casualties.

The correspondent said every two or three minutes there were bombings between 6 pm to about midnight Saturday, after which they occurred at a rate of about one every 15 minutes.

On Saturday at least 115 people were killed across Syria, the Observatory said.