Middle East

Air strikes kill 12 in Syria rebel town

A Syrian man tries to dodge sniper fire as he runs through an alley near a checkpoint manned by the Free Syria Army in Aleppo, September 14, 2012. (TOPSHOTS/AFP PHOTO/MARCO LONGARI)

AL-BAB, Syria: Overnight air strikes killed at least 12 civilians and wounded around 60 in Al-Bab in northern Syria, doctors in the rebel-held town told AFP on Saturday.

Two fighter jets carried out a series of raids on the town between 4 pm (1300 GMT) Friday and 4 am (0100 GMT) Saturday, hitting homes and empty school buildings, a doctor at the town's hospital said, asking not to be identified.

Shortly before midday on Saturday, an AFP correspondent saw a fighter jet circle over the town of some 70,000 people 35 kilometers (20 miles) northeast of Syria's commercial capital Aleppo, sending panicked residents scurrying off the streets.

It did not open fire.

In the town's Birar neighborhood, several streets were cordoned off because of the risk of falling masonry from bombed out buildings.

In one of the homes hit, four people lost their lives, three of them women, the father of one of those killed told AFP.

Residents said there were no rebel fighters in any of the buildings hit.

"They were targeting the school," said English teacher Mustafa Tamro, 39.

"The Free Syrian Army had fighters stationed in it at the start of the uprising but they left two months ago."

The Halima Saadia School took at least three hits. One crumpled two stories of the building, another blasted a hole through one of the perimeter walls and a third left a two meter (six foot) deep crater in the courtyard, the AFP correspondent reported.





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