Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Middle East

Syria air force strikes 'kill 43'


Government air strikes on rebel areas in northern Syria killed at least 43 people and flattened buildings, forcing residents to search mounds of rubble for bodies trapped underneath, anti-regime activists say.

The overnight strikes hit at least five towns in Idlib and Aleppo provinces.

One video purportedly filmed after an airstrike today on the Idlib city of Maarent al-Numan shows a man holding up two child-sized legs not connected to a body. Another man walks by carrying an arm.

Yet another video shows 18 white cloth bundles holding the remains of those killed.

Other videos from the city of Aleppo show the aftermath of an airstrike on a mosque.

While some men carry away bodies, others work to dig out a survivor whose legs are buried in debris.

Activist claims and videos cannot be independently verified due to restrictions on reporting in Syria. But all videos corresponded to activist reports and appeared to have been filmed where they said they were.

The footage provides a window into the carnage wrought by the Syrian military's increasing reliance on airstrikes to fight rebels waging a harsh civil war to topple President Bashar Assad.

Rights groups say the airstrikes often hit civilian areas. And this week, Human Rights Watch accused Syria of using cluster munitions, which the New York-based group says endanger civilians.

The regime contends that it is fighting terrorists backed by foreign powers who seek to destroy Syria. It also denied using cluster munitions.

A number of nations and the UN envoy to the Syria conflict are pushing for a temporary cease-fire during a Muslim holiday later this month.

Joint UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has called on the Syrian government to take the first step in observing a truce during the four-day Eid al-Adha holiday that begins on October 26.

He said the Jordanian capital Amman, today the temporary truce could be a first step in helping Syrians "to resolve their problems and to rebuild a new Syria as aspired for by its people."

The Syrian government said it wants a ceasefire but the rebels lack a unified leadership that can agree to it.