Civilian bodies found in Syria

The bodies of more than 30 civilians, some of them women and children, were today found in the streets of the Syrian town of Daraya south-west of Damascus, activists said.

It brought the death toll in Daraya, where President Bashar Assad’s forces have been waging a fierce assault against rebels, to more than 120 in the past week alone.

The British-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 32 dead bodies were found in the streets and they had been killed by “gunfire and summary executions”.

Among them were three women and two children, the group said.

Regime forces also used combat helicopters and tanks to pound rebel-held areas in the northern city of Aleppo and the southern town of Daraa along the Jordanian border.

The Observatory said it had reports of fatalities, but did not have exact numbers.

Activists say more than 20,000 people have died in 17 months of fighting in Syria, as an uprising that started with peaceful protests against Assad’s rule has morphed into a civil war.

In Damascus, Syrian vice president Farouk al-Sharaa appeared in public for the first time in several weeks for a meeting with a senior Iranian official, ending rumours that he had defected.

Reporters saw him get out of his car and walk to his office for a meeting with Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of Iran’s powerful parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy.

There have been a series of high-level defections from the Assad regime in the past few months.

Mr al-Sharaa was last seen at the funeral of four top security officials killed in a blast in Damascus on July 18. Since then, there had been rumours that he had defected to Jordan, though Mr al-Sharaa’s office and Jordan repeatedly denied he had defected.

He was seen at the door of his office, shaking hands with Mr Boroujerdi, according to a reporter at the scene. He said Mr al-Sharaa looked serious and steered away from reporters covering the meeting. He did not make a statement.

Pan-Arab satellite channel Al Arabiya reported that air force intelligence chief Maj Gen Jamil Hassan had been assassinated, but a senior government official denied it.

In neighbouring Jordan, officials said the country is bracing for a mass exodus of Syrians in the wake of intensified fighting.

Jordan appealed for increased international assistance to 160,000 Syrian refugees it is hosting.

Information minister Sameeh Maaytah said the refugee influx has swelled even further, with more than 2,300 Syrians crossing into Jordan on Friday – the largest arrival in a single day since the outbreak of the Syrian uprising in March 2011.

“The number of refugees is growing and our limited resources are thinning,” the minister said. “The international community should come to the aid of the Syrian refugees.”

More on this topic

Syrian air force responsible for chemical attacks, says watchdogSyrian air force responsible for chemical attacks, says watchdog

UN chief says initial coronavirus cases in Syria just ‘tip of the iceberg’UN chief says initial coronavirus cases in Syria just ‘tip of the iceberg’

Assad predicts total victory after gains in northern SyriaAssad predicts total victory after gains in northern Syria

Dublin footballer Michael Darragh Macauley calls for action to help Syrian refugees after Iraq visit Dublin footballer Michael Darragh Macauley calls for action to help Syrian refugees after Iraq visit

More in this Section

Ornate ostrich eggs shed light on an interconnected ancient world – studyOrnate ostrich eggs shed light on an interconnected ancient world – study

Melania Trump spreads Easter cheer to workers during pandemicMelania Trump spreads Easter cheer to workers during pandemic

Ferrets ‘could help in development of coronavirus treatments and vaccines’Ferrets ‘could help in development of coronavirus treatments and vaccines’

Coronavirus lockdown exit strategies mulled by world governmentsCoronavirus lockdown exit strategies mulled by world governments


Lifestyle

Junior Cert and Leaving Cert students mustn’t be forced to go through the motions with state exams, and we need creative thinking to find alternatives fast, writes mother and educator Ellie O’Byrne.Policy fail? Insistence that state exams go ahead in June is glib and ignorant

Yes, we all need to stay at home but that doesn't mean your children have to be bored, says Michelle McGlynnWorld of wonder: What to do with the children outdoors

Over the next three weeks, I am going to outline how you can support yourself and your family over this period of lockdown, writes Richard Hogan.Learning Points: Keeping children on a healthy and happy regime

As we are settling into our new routines of self isolation, staying at home and home schooling it feels that a whole new set of pressures is coming down the tracks.Mum's The Word: Pressure to be productive in a world of online classes

More From The Irish Examiner