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
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Teacher Required To Start ASAP.

£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough, Cam...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy