Syrian regime 'revenge attack' kills scores in Qalamoun

Syrian regime 'revenge attack' kills scores in Qalamoun

2 min read
02 July, 2016
The Syrian regime has killed at least 43 people in the town of Jayrud near Damascus in a 'revenge shelling attack' after a downed pilot was killed by rebels.
There had been a two year truce with the regime in Jayrud [Getty]
At least 43 people have been killed by Syrian regime shelling in a rebel-held town northeast of the Syrian capital, after a downed government pilot was executed by rebels.

The bombardment hit the town of Jayrud on Saturday, where Islamist rebels killed a pilot they captured after he was forced to eject on Friday.

"At least two of the killed in Jayrud were medical staff," head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, said.

"Prominent figures in Jayrud have had a local truce with the regime for at least two years, and neither fired on each other," he added.

Jaish al-Islam spokesman Islam Alloush said on Friday that al-Nusra Front had executed an air force pilot in Jayrud after his plane was shot down by Jaish al-Islam.

"We have been surprised by members of al-Nusra killing the pilot, whose plane we shot down after they pledged to hand him over us," Alloush said on Twitter.

Alloush identified the pilot as Lieutenant Nawras Hassan and posted an interview with him before he was killed.

      Images of the captured pilot were released [Twitter]

In a Friday statement about the incident, Syrian state media said the attack "would not go unpunished."

It added that the plane had crashed due to "technical failure during a training mission".

Rebel groups in Jayrud, 60 kilometres from Damascus, include the Saudi-backed Jaish al-Islam, the hardline Ahrar al-Sham, and al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front.

Jaish al-Islam, like the al-Qaida affiliate, is considered a terrorist group by the Syrian government and Russia.

Several government aircraft have been shot down by rebels or crashed because of technical faults since the civil war erupted five years ago.

Also on Saturday, Jaish al-Islam said it had shot down a regime drone near the village of al-Bahariya in eastern Ghouta.

The conflict has killed more than 280,000 people and displaced millions.