REBELS AMBUSHED: Syrian troops ambushed a large group of rebels Wednesday trudging through what once was a secret route through a desert road northeast of Damascus, killing more than 60 fighters in a barrage of machine gun fire and leaving their bodies in the sand. State television said that those killed came from an al-Qaida-linked group that has joined the battle against President Bashar Assad, whose troops are trying to drive opposition forces from areas surrounding his seat of power in the capital.
There were conflicting reports on the attack in Adra, which lies on a supply route between Damascus and rebel-held areas to the east that is often the scene of heavy clashes between the two sides. The dawn attack dealt another heavy blow to opposition troops after a string of recent regime successes.
CHILDREN KILLED: In the north, a missile struck the rebel-held city of Raqqa, killing three people and wounding dozens, including children, the Local Coordination Committees activist group said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said two children were among the three people killed. Amateur videos showed at least three wounded children who were rushed away in a pickup truck. A boy with minor wounds screamed as he was held by a man in the pickup truck and shouted "Dad!" The man holding him tried to calm him down, saying, "Dad will come soon." The videos appeared genuine and corresponded to other Associated Press reporting on the events depicted.
Wednesday's missile attack came after Human Rights Watch said missiles fired by the Syrian army into populated areas have killed hundreds of civilians in recent months.
MORE U.S. AID: President Barack Obama says the United States is providing an additional $195 million in humanitarian and food aid to Syrian rebels. That means the United States has now sent more than $1 billion in humanitarian aid since the two-year Syrian civil war started. Obama is timing the new aid to coincide with Eid al-Fitr, a holiday marking the end of Ramadan, Islam's holy month of fasting. Obama says many Americans have celebrated Ramadan with Muslims. He says millions in Syria are displaced and need help. The humanitarian aid follows recent approval of a U.S. aid package of weapons to Syrian rebels. The White House issued the statement Wednesday while Obama was traveling in California.