Friday, April 20, 2018

Syrian activists report 60 burned bodies found in landfill

BEIRUT, Lebanon — At least 60 charred bodies were found Thursday in a suburb of the Syrian capital of Damascus in what activists described as another massacre committed by government forces.

The bodies, all with their hands tied behind their backs, were found in a landfill in Qatna. Opposition activists were trying to find out who the victims were and what happened.

The victims were among an estimated 200 people killed across Syria on Thursday as the daily death toll in the ongoing conflict between opposition fighters and President Bashar Assad's forces continues to rise.

In the northern city of Aleppo, 70 were reported killed, including 40 people waiting for bread when a rocket fired by a warplane hit a bakery in the rebel-held Qadi Askar neighborhood.

A citywide flour shortage has resulted in bakeries being inundated with customers trying to buy a few loaves of bread, a staple of the Syrian diet. Grisly video said to be from the aftermath of the attack showed a line of bodies crumpled on the blood-soaked ground.

"Their goal is terrorizing the people," Abu Hashim, an activist in Aleppo, said of the government's tactics.

In another neighborhood, Shiar, eight people were killed as they tried to flee intensifying air attacks, Abu Hashim said.

As violence grew in Aleppo in recent weeks, residents fled to the suburbs, which seemed safer. But attacks on the rebel-controlled suburbs have increased even as shelling on the city continues.

The United Nations Security Council, meanwhile, voted to end its four-month monitoring mission in Syria because conditions had not been met for it to continue. The mission will formally end Sunday.

But the council agreed to create a liaison office in Damascus to support efforts for a political solution to the conflict and respect for human rights. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the U.N. cannot stop trying to assist the Syrian people.

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