Syria army plane crashes in rebel-held town

Syria army plane crashes in rebel-held town
A Syrian military aircraft crashed while on a bombing run over the rebel-held northwestern town of Ariha on Monday, leaving at least 27 people dead, a monitoring group said.
2 min read
03 August, 2015
Syria's civil war has killed more than 220,000 people since March 2011 [Anadolu]

Government air raids in a northwestern town in Syria and a subsequent crash by a Syrian warplane that slammed into a residential area there killed at least 27 people on Monday, activists said.

The raids on the town of Ariha came amid intense clashes between government forces and insurgents in the northwestern province of Idlib and the central region of Hama.

The town, once a government stronghold, was captured by opposition fighters and Islamic militants in May.

Government forces have suffered setbacks in Idlib province since March, including the loss of the provincial capital of the same name.

An activist group known as the Local Coordination Committees said the warplane crashed in a busy market, adding that it was not immediately clear whether it was shot down.

The LCC said 27 people were killed and many others were wounded.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads another activist group, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the plane crashed in the town centre, destroying several homes.

The Observatory later said that 31 people were killed and more than 60 were wounded.

The Ariha Today Facebook page posted a photo showing at least seven buildings reduced to rubble on a narrow street.

It said 27 people were killed but that 12 of them have not been identified yet.

The group also listed 55 wounded, including nine women.

The discrepancies in the different casualty figures reported could not be reconciled.

The Observatory and the LCC said that at the time of the crash, the town was under attack by Syrian President Bashar Assad's air force.

An amateur video posted online by activists showed several damaged buildings, as well as parts of the plane that crashed.

Syria's civil war began in March 2011. The United Nations says the war has killed more than 220,000 people, wounded at least one million and left many displaced internally and in neighbouring countries.

More than four million Syrians have fled the civil war to become refugees in the surrounding region