Syrian regime bombing on Jayrud kills over 43 people

A building destroyed in Jayrud bombing
A building destroyed in Jayrud bombing

Fierce government bombardment of an opposition-controlled Syrian town has killed 43 people, among them children and medical staff, a monitoring group says.

Hours of airstrikes and shelling on Saturday struck Jayrud, 60 kilometres north-east of Damascus, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said two medics were among the dead, as well as women and children.

The bombardment — the first on Jayrud in at least two years — began after Syria’s armed forces said Islamist militants killed a government pilot when he was forced to eject from his plane on Friday.

In a statement, the military had pledged that the attack on its pilot would “not go unpunished”.

Early on Sunday, Abdel Rahman said prominent figures in Jayrud had reached an agreement with government officials “that the [rebel] fighters would leave the town in exchange for the pilot’s body being handed over”.

A Facebook page run by Jayrud activists that publishes news about the town said rebels began withdrawing from their bases around the town overnight.

For more than five years, the Syrian people have suffered a catastrophic series of wars that have killed or injured hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions.

Anti-regime factions in Jayrud include the Saudi-backed Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam), Ahrar al-Sham, and Al-Nusra Front.

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