Syria: Five children killed by air strike in Bustan al-Qasar as Assad regime steps up bombardment of Aleppo

 

Aleppo

The air strike, on a bright sunny afternoon, was on a residential area. The missile tore through the home of the Quoreyas on Mohammed Nadeem Street, collapsing the top floors on the ones below, obliterating the hastily dug shelter in the basement and starting a fire which spread swiftly.

Seven members of the family were killed, five of them children. Yusuf, Taharid and Bara were together at the time. They were, respectively, an 18 months old boy and seven and eight year old girls. Hatem, 15, was another one to die; the dismembered remains of 14 year old Mahmoud was found alongside those of those of his mother, Waheeda, blown to the roof of the house next door.

The Mig-23 had already hit another house in the Bustan al-Qasar subrurb of Aleppo. It took it’s time before launching the next salvo, flying low seemingly to fix on the target. It may have been aiming at a base used by rebel fighters not far away or it may have been seeking a building which had seen a number of vehicles come and go, a field hospital which did not advertise itself because others had come under attack.

When the body of the Abdul Latif Quoreya, the father of the family, was found, there was still hope that some of the others at home may have survived. Relations, neighbours and friends scrabbled through the debris with shovels, pick-axes, their bare hands as others from the street fled around them in panic and the regime’s warplane continued to circle overhead.

The scale of the carnage soon made it apparent that the effort was in vain. “We did everything we could, the stairway was falling, there was burning everywhere, but we went up to all the rooms but no one was left alive” said Marouf, a 26 year old cousin of the lost children. “I was crying when I was doing this, it was so hard thinking about what had happened, especially to the little ones. Our grandmother is sick with sadness, she wanted to come here to see what has happened, but she would not have recovered if she had seen this.

“We thought that because we were away from where the battles were taking place, we were safe, but with the airplanes you cannot be safe anywhere in this city.” Marouf continued as he and three other cousins put body parts of their relations into a burlap sack for burial.

There are no attempts any longer to hide the fact that Basher al-Assad’s regime was using modern warplanes to bomb its own citizens. It has, instead, become a tool of intimidation and state terror. Late this morning another Mig swooped down lower than it would have needed to fire off its missiles, confident that it faced no threat from the ground, before banking leisurely and flying away. Fifteen minutes later a helicopter appeared on the same patch of sky along with the rasping, and increasingly familiar, sound of its’ machine-guns in action.

The use of aircraft is undoubtedly having a psychological effect upon the beleaguered population of Aleppo. People look anxiously above as they gather on the pavements, they run to cross roads, and some have decided that the threat is too much to endure. Bustan al-Qasar, an unremarkable neighbourhood, had a population of 300,000. It is now down to around 40,000 with a rise in the exodus in the last few days.

“The Migs and the helicopters is the reason we are leaving” said 49 year old Hussein Ali Abdu, as he gathered his wife and five children into an ancient Toyota and tied bundles on to a roof rack. “I have not heard of Basher using his planes so much anywhere else in Syria. But he wants to punish us here in Aleppo because he thought this was one of the places which would never dare to rise against him. But why is he using is against civilians, his fight is with the Shabaab (rebel fighters).”

Mr Abdu’s brother, who is staying behind, nodded: “Why aren’t the Shabaab protecting us against the planes? They say they have rockets to shoot them down, where are they?”

Some rebels continue to insist that they do, indeed, have surface to air missiles in their arsenal. “We have got them through Turkey, we shall use them at the right time, there will be a shock for the regime, they will be very afraid” declared ‘Captain’ Ali Syed Naimuddin. But around him, at the base near where the air strikes had taken place, the rebel fighters did not look particularly confident when discussing their anti-aircraft strategy. The look of unease increased as a warplane appeared overhead soon afterwards and dropped ordnance nearby.

It is the medics, working in secret, under extremely difficult conditions, who are having to cope with the aftermath of the air strikes. Hadil Ami, a young female doctor, was on duty at a newly set up clinic when the victims from the Quoreya family were brought in. “The worse thing is that we may have been able to save the little boy if we had the right equipment, he had head injuries, but we could have saved him” she said quietly. “I took a picture of him before they took him away, I looked at it later and felt so helpless and so angry.”

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
News
people
News
A speech made by the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister urging women not to laugh in public in order to preserve morality has sparked a backlash on social media from women posting defiant selfies of themselves laughing at his remarks.
GALLERYWhy are Turkish women having a chuckle at the government's expense?
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP PROJECT MANAGER

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MAN...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Developer

£50000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A unique and rare opport...

Team Secretary - (Client Development/Sales Team) - Wimbledon

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Secretary (Sales Team Support) - Mat...

SEN KS1 Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Qualified and experi...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star