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Dozens killed in airstrike on bakery in Hama
Published Sunday 23/12/2012 (updated) 28/12/2012 11:17
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A view shows an illustration of Syrian President Bashar Assad riddled
with bullets on a wall of an infantry college in the countryside in Aleppo,
Dec. 21. (Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah)

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Dozens of people were killed and many more wounded in an air strike that hit a Syrian bakery where a large crowd was queuing for bread on Sunday, activists said.

If confirmed, it would be one of the deadliest air strikes of Syria's civil war.

"There is no way to really know yet how many people were killed. When I got there, I could see piles of bodies all over the ground. There were women and children," said Samer al-Hamawi, an activist in the town of Halfaya. "There are also dozens of wounded people."

Rami Abdelrahman, of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, also said the death toll was still very unclear:

"From looking at the videos, I expect the death toll to be around or above 50, and not higher than 100. But for now I am keeping my estimate at dozens killed, until we have more information."

Halfaya, in the central province of Hama, had been seized by rebels last week in a push to seize new territory in their 21-month-old revolt against President Bashar Assad,

Another activist said residents picking through the bodies were still determining which were wounded and which were dead.

Hamawi, who spoke via Skype, uploaded a video of the scene that showed dozens of dust-coated bodies lined up near a pile of rubble beside a concrete building with blackened walls.

Screams could be heard in the video as some men rushed to the scene on motorcycles and other residents limped away. Dozens of dead bodies could be seen.

The authenticity of the video could not be immediately verified, as the government restricts access into Syria.

Activists said more than a thousand people had been lined up at the bakery in Halfaya. Shortages of fuel and flour have made bread production erratic across Syria, and bread lines are often hours long.

Activists say more than 44,000 people have been killed in the 21 months since the eruption of anti-Assad protests, inspired by the Arab Spring revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere.

Western powers and some Arab countries have repeatedly demanded that Assad step down.

Mainly Sunni Muslim rebels are fighting on the edge of the capital Damascus and expanding southwards from their northern strongholds in the provinces around Aleppo and Idlib.

But Assad, who is from the Alawite minority linked to Shi'ite Islam, has branded the rebels as terrorists and responded with artillery, air strikes and -- according to NATO, which is stationing anti-missile defences in neighbouring Turkey -- with Scud-type missiles.

Earlier on Sunday, Syria's information minister distanced the government from comments by the vice president that neither the rebels nor Assad's forces could win the civil war.

The foreign minister of Russia, one of Syria's main allies, said on Saturday that the conflict had reached stalemate, and that Assad would not yield to international efforts to persuade him to quit.
1 ) Mel / USA
23/12/2012 20:26
Soon,it's going to come out WHO is attacking Syrian men,women & children! AND,it will show it's NOT Assad's forces,unless they're DEFECTORS from the military,who're working with USG,Nato to START this Muslim on Muslim sectarian war,leaving Syria DESTROYED,crippled,like Libya,Iraq & SOON Egypt,in the hands of either radical Islamist Western-proxies,or EUNUCH technocrat puppets of "Yes sir!No sir!3(Swiss bank)bags full sirD.C!"SHAME ON OUR USG & its docile EU/UK lap-dogs!

2 ) Ahmad / Palestine
23/12/2012 20:58
this story is a joke.it's ironic they mention such story,after news this past week of rebels taking truckloads of flour,produce etc to antakya and parts of turkey.why hasnt maan mentioned that..also this story http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/syrian-rebels-threaten-storm-two-christian-towns

3 ) Arnold / Canada
24/12/2012 00:00
Where is the Arab League and what does the Arab league really do ?

4 ) shirleyS / AUSTRALIA
24/12/2012 00:57
another biased article by REUTERS and western newspapers no story on how SYRIA assad have chareged HARRIRI for suypplying weapons and aid to so called opposittion in SYRIA who are nothing but paid US EU merceneries not AL QEADA bringing AL QEADA into this could set whole north Africa in trouble including GAZA againASSAd and Iran are idiots and are destroying ME IRan rammped up hate against gaddfhi using wEST so called anti war andLEFTIST groups which helped NATO invade LIBYAandgave momentum to i

5 ) shirley S / Australia
24/12/2012 01:04
beware these videos by so called REBELS these tactics used by NATO MERCENERIES in LIBYA and have proven before that these people had been killed by these rebels like rthe fake attack by MORTAR or aircraft but closer examination proved otherwise THE US TURKEY and NATO are pumping in mass amounts of money and merceneries including CIA troops etc into SYRIA US does not want to face war crimes IRAQ THERE WAS NO ARAB SPRING ENGINEERED BY US ISREAL EU TO LOOK LIKE ONLY EGYPTHAD GENIUNE UPRISING

24/12/2012 08:07

7 ) Filipe / Portugal
24/12/2012 08:40
Advisory opinion------ don't stand in bread lines ----- bake your bread at home ! Your government forces will attack you if they see you gathering collectively in the streets.

8 ) antisectarian / .lb
24/12/2012 21:57
more lies from march 14-zionists

9 ) to kill bread shoppers / is beyond
25/12/2012 09:40
imagination Assad is another Caucesque
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