Syria warplane kills 18 in single attack

A Syrian warplane bombed a building in the northern rebel-held town of Al-Bab in Aleppo province on Monday, killing at least 10 men, six women and two children, a watchdog said.

“The victims included two children, a girl and a boy,” Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told reporters. “They died when the fighter jet bombed the building where they were sheltered.”

The army also pounded several districts of the city of Aleppo, the Observatory said, more than six weeks after the start of what President Bashar al-Assad’s regime warned would be “the mother of all battles” in Syria’s commercial hub.

The airstrike on Al-Bab followed a series of attacks on towns and villages in the Aleppo countryside, as regime forces fight to break rebel supply lines into the city.

State news agency Sana said on Monday that “our brave armed forces continued to purse terrorists... who sustained heavy losses,” adding that the army “seized large quantities of arms and ammunition” from the rebels on the outskirts of Aleppo city.

The army, Sana said, destroyed a number of pick-up trucks equipped with heavy machine guns at Kafr al-Hamra, “at the northern entrance of Aleppo, while terrorists tried to enter the city.”

More than 26,000 people have died in Syria since the outbreak of an anti-regime revolt in March last year, according to the Observatory.

The army’s crackdown on dissent was so brutal that, several months later, the uprising transformed into an armed insurgency.