- Local residents say the attack was launched by Syrian government forces onto a densely populated area of Aleppo
- It is believed that in one of the deadly attacks seven children were killed
- Rebels in the north of the country today said they had shot down a government fighter jet
- Syria came under scathing international criticism today with Turkey calling the country a terrorist state
By Anthony Bond
PUBLISHED: 11:39 EST, 5 September 2012 | UPDATED: 15:40 EST, 5 September 2012
They are horrific pictures which show the brutality and destructiveness of war.
As doctors battle to save injured children, blood runs through the streets of Aleppo in Syria following an air strike by government forces.
Residents of the battered city are seen struggling to cope following the devastating attack.
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Grief stricken parents are pictured desperately trying to calm their children as doctors struggled to treat an influx of injured people at the Dar al-Shifa hospital.
Local residents say the attack was launched by Syrian government forces onto a densely populated area of the city on Monday.
It is believed that in one of the deadly attacks since Monday, seven children were killed. Their bodies lay under blankets in the back of a yellow pick-up outside an Aleppo hospital.
‘This is all one family,’ said tailor Hassan Dalati, who survived the raid on Al-Sultan street in the heart of the city of 2.7 million people.
A distraught cousin of those killed described what happened: ‘The jet bombed at 6:00 am when we were sleeping… I started looking for the children but they were all dead.’
The corpse of the children’s father, identified as Fawaz Hajju, rested on the pavement outside the hospital along with an eighth child who was killed in the same morning flash.
‘So many children, it is a massacre,’ said a teary nurse in Aleppo.
Activists said more than 100 people were killed on Monday – many of them in two air raids that knocked out large parts of buildings in the northern province of Aleppo.
In serious fighting today, Syrian rebels besieged a military airport near the border with Iraq, opposition sources said, as rebels in the north of the country said they had shot down a fighter jet.
Free Syrian Army rebels have been laying siege to Hamadan airport in the city of Albu Kamal on the country’s eastern frontier in Deir al-Zor province for the past three days.
Struggling to put down a 17-month-old uprising against his rule, President Bashar al-Assad has been increasingly relying on aircraft to attack the rebels, who are comparatively lightly armed with machine guns and rockets.
The opposition said the airport, where dozens of soldiers are still holding out, has been used by helicopters to launch bombing runs against rebel strongholds.
The rebels stepped up their attacks on air bases last week in an attempt to blunt Assad’s air power which he has deployed to try to check rebel advances in urban and rural areas in the last month.
‘The airport has effectively fallen after many soldiers defected,’ Nawaf al-Bashir, a senior tribal figure from Deir al-Zor who is in contact with rebels, said from Istanbul.
Reports of heavy fighting outside the base came as rebels in the north of the country said they had shot down a fighter jet using a heavy machine guns.
Opposition fighters in Idlib province in the north-west of the country near Turkey said they had shot down the aircraft yesterday as it was taking off from the Abu Thuhur air base.
‘They brought it down as it was taking off from the airport using 14.5 millimetre anti-aircraft machine guns,’ said Abu Majad, a spokesman from the rebel Ahrar al-Sham (Free Men of Syria) brigade.
It was impossible to verify the rebel statements as foreign media access to Syria is restricted. The rebels say they have shot down several fighter jets and helicopters in recent weeks.
If they seized Hamadan airport, a Western diplomat based in Amman said the rebels lacked the weapons to hold on to it, with sorties by Syrian fighter jets intensifying over the area.
Syria also came under scathing international criticism today, with Turkey calling the country a terrorist state and Egypt’s leader calling on President Bashar Assad to ‘learn from recent history’ and step down.
Alluding to the fate of the authoritarian regimes in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen, which were overthrown by Arab Spring uprisings, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi warned his Syrian counterpart that ‘it’s too late to talk about reform, this is the time for change.’
Also today, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed Assad’s government.
‘The regime has become one of state terrorism,’ he said. ‘Syria is going through a huge humanitarian saga. Unfortunately, as usual, the international community is merely watching the slaughter, massacre and the elimination of Muslims.’
Turkey has become one of the strongest critics of Assad’s regime and is host to Syrian opposition groups as well as some 80,000 refugees.