Syria air strike kills 18, Gulf states slam Damascus

A Syrian warplane bombed a building in the northern rebel-held town of Al-Bab killing 18 people today, a watchdog said, as Arab Gulf monarchies slammed Damascus for using heavy weapons against civilians.

With violence raging and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reporting more than 5,000 people killed across Syria in August alone, new international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi admitted that his mission was "nearly impossible."
The air strike killed at least 10 men, six women and two children, the Britain-based Observatory said.

"The victims included two children, a girl and a boy," Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP. "They died when the fighter jet bombed the building where they were sheltered."

The army also pounded several districts of the nearby city of Aleppo, the Observatory said, more than six weeks after the start of what President Bashar al-Assad's regime warned would be "the mother of all battles" in Syria's commercial hub.

The airstrike on Al-Bab followed a series of attacks on towns and villages in the Aleppo countryside, as regime forces fight to break rebel supply lines into the city.

The Observatory reported a total of at least 132 people killed across Syria yesterday -- 96 civilians, nine rebel fighters and 27 soldiers.

The watchdog, which has a network of activists on the ground, said August marked the bloodiest month in Syria since the uprising against Assad's regime erupted in March last year, with at least 5,440 people killed.

According to the Observatory, at least 26,283 people have been killed in Syria since the revolt began in March last year -- 18,695 civilians, 1,079 defectors and 6,509 troops.
Concerned by the escalating violence, monarchies in the Gulf yesterday sharply criticised Syria's regime for deploying heavy weapons against its own civilians and urged a peaceful transition of power in the country.

The six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council at a meeting in Jeddah also urged the international community to "assume their responsibilities and take measures to protect civilians" in Syria.

The GCC -- which comprises Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait -- in a statement issued after the meeting in the Saudi city condemned "the ongoing massacres which are due to the obstinacy of the regime in using heavy weapons, including planes and tanks" against civilians.

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