Thousands of Syrians flee after bombing by Assad's warplanes

 

Thousands of Syrians headed toward Turkey on Monday after President Bashar al-Assad's air force attacked populated areas near the border, Arabic and Turkish media reported.

The strikes on a refugee camp brought retaliatory fire from Turkish anti-aircraft gunners, Al Arabiya television said, while the Turkish Anatolia news agency said several people were killed and injured during an air attack on the town of Atma. Al Jazeera television said Turkish officials were preventing the refugees leaving their country.

Syrian warplanes could be seen flying close to the border, according to two customs officials interviewed by phone at the Cilvegozu border point in Turkey's Hatay province.

Turkey has asked the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to deploy Patriot missile batteries on the border and an alliance delegation begins inspections tomorrow to determine sites. Tension between the two countries, which staged joint military exercises in 2009, soared this year after a Turkish jet was shot down by Syria in June and when a mortar round killed five Turks near the border last month.

The Red Cross said Monday that it's alarmed by the way the Syrian civil conflict is being fought and appealed to the combatants to fully comply with humanitarian rules.

International law states that attacks may only be directed at "military objectives and not against civilians, or against civilian objects such as homes, schools, medical facilities and vehicles, community shelters or places of worship," Pierre Kraehenbuehl, director of operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said in the statement. He said the humanitarian situation is getting worse by the day.

Monday's attack along the Turkish border followed the seizure by rebels of a hydroelectric dam on the Euphrates river, according to a video posted by the opposition Local Coordination Committees in Aleppo. That marked the latest in a series of attacks by rebels against Assad's strategic installations, including pipelines and air bases, as they expand their 20-month campaign. The fighting has killed more than 40,000 people, according to the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Tishrin Dam, which generates 630 megawatts of power, had been the scene of fierce fighting since at least Nov. 22, according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency. The YouTube video shows rebels roaming around the plant, claiming the structure has returned to the Syrian people and is no longer in the hands of Assad's "gangs."

The authenticity of the video couldn't be independently verified by Bloomberg, and the Ministry of Electricity couldn't be reached for comment today.

Fighters destroyed tanks, radar systems and helicopters at the Marj al-Sultan military airport east of Damascus, according to unverified footage posted on the Syrian Observatory's Facebook page yesterday.

Assad's forces killed more than 100 people Sunday, including 24 in Damascus, the Observatory said.

Turkey's military said Monday that the Patriot missile deployment is solely aimed at the threat from Syria and won't be used to enforce a "no-fly zone" or to launch attacks. Iran and Russia have expressed concern that deployment of missiles could fuel regional tensions.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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

Recruitment Genius: 1st / 2nd Line Technical Analyst

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 1st / 2nd Line Technical Anal...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sales?Do you have a keen interes...

Recruitment Genius: Class 2 LGV Driver / Delivery Person

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This coal merchant would like to recruit a Cla...

SThree: German Speaking Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sale...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate