(AFP) –The Syrian military on Monday launched the heaviest air strikes seen in the country since warplanes were first deployed over the summer, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
“There have been 48 air raids across the country over four hours this morning. These are the heaviest air strikes since warplanes were first deployed over the summer,” the watchdog’s director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
“The regime is looking to make real gains. There are battles in all of these areas being hit,” said Abdel Rahman.
The Britain-based Observatory reported 11 air raids on villages and towns across the north western province of Idlib, where regime forces and rebels have been locked in fierce fighting over the Wadi Daif military base.
According to the Observatory, two men were killed and dozens wounded in the Idlib strikes, “and the number of dead is likely to rise due to the presence of severe injuries.”
In Damascus, the air strikes were some of the heaviest heard since the beginning of Syria’s 19-month conflict, an AFP correspondent said.
The bombardments came on the final day of the Muslim feast of Eid Al-Adha, after a failed bid to halt the country’s violence by UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.
Warplanes struck at least 11 targets in Damascus, the Observatory said, with attacks focused on rebel positions in a northeastern belt of the capital where the regime has been battling to take over opposition strongholds.
A Syrian security official told AFP the military was trying to prevent the rebels from boosting their hold on the area.
“The army is conducting raids on agricultural lands and orchards around the capital because the rebels are trying to regroup and to strengthen their positions there,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
Furthermore, a car bomb attack killed at least 10 people in the predominantly Christian and Druze area of Jaramana, near Damascus, Syrian state television said.
“A terrorist car bombing next to a bakery on Rawda Street killed at least 10 people, including women and children,” the television said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said “the car bomb detonated on a main street in the mainly loyalist suburb of Jaramana, where there is a proliferation of armed pro-regime popular defence committees,” or militias.
According to the Britain-based watchdog, the blast killed at least 12 people and wounded 15, some of them critically.