Dozens dead in raid on Syria fuel station
Free Syrian Army fighters prepare a grenade launcher before they clash with forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, in al-Ezaa district in Aleppo. REUTERS photoAt least 30 civilians were killed and dozens more wounded yesterday in an explosion at a petrol station in northeastern Syria, a human rights group said, with activists saying it was an air strike.
“At least 30 people were killed and 83 were injured, although unconfirmed sources say the number of dead was actually more than 50,” the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, told Agence France-Presse.
“Lawyers and activists in the area say the blast was caused by aerial bombardment,” the Britain-based watchdog added. Activists said that the petrol station in the village of Ain Issa, in Raqa province, was hit by a fighter jet.
The deaths came a day after Syrian rebels seized control of a border crossing between Raqa province and Turkey in heavy clashes with troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. Yesterday’s blast took place some 40 kilometers south of the Tal al-Abyad border post.
“The petrol station is the only one that is still open to customers in the area, and it was packed,” a media activist in the province said. “It was hit by a fighter jet.” The activist, who identified himself as Abu Muawiya, accused the army of aiming to kill the highest number of civilians possible.
Meanwhile, a Syrian military helicopter clipped the tail of a Syrian passenger jet with 200 people aboard in mid-air yesterday, but the larger aircraft landed safely and no one aboard was hurt, Syria’s state TV said.
The helicopter crashed near the capital of Damascus, though it was not clear if there were any casualties in that crash or what had led the two aircraft to touch in mid-air.
In yesterday’s incident, the helicopters rotor clipped the tail of a Syrian Arab Airlines jet, the state TV said. The passenger plane “landed safely at the airport and none of the 200 passengers were harmed,” the report said. The helicopter crashed southeast of Douma, a Damascus suburb that has witnessed repeated military crackdowns to purge fighters seeking to topple Assad.