Syrian jets pound towns in north, east

Syrian aircraft attacked towns in the country’s north and east and killed at least five people in a strike on an olive oil press as fighting raged in the capital Damascus on Tuesday.

Rebels also battled government forces in the Damascus suburb of Kfar Souseh, on the edge of the centre of the capital housing the government of President Bashar al-Assad, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitoring group.

There was also combat in the Baba Amr district of Homs city, an area that was overrun by government troops in February, said the Observatory, as well as fighting in Aleppo, Deir al-Zor, Deraa, Idlib province and Hama province.

A government jet fired barrel bombs — cylinders packed with explosives and petrol — at the Abu Hilal olive oil press, 2 km west of Idlib city, activist Tareq Abdelhaq said.

At least five people were killed and five wounded in the attack, the Observatory said. Abdelhaq said at least 20 were killed and 50 wounded.

The victims were civilians, according to activists, who acknowledged rebel fighters were in the area.

Such reports are difficult to verify as the government restricts access to foreign media.
An estimated 40,000 people have been killed in Syria since March last year when protests inspired by the Arab Spring broke out against Assad, whose family has ruled autocratically for four decades. Assad has relied on fighter jets, helicopters and artillery to subdue the revolt.

142 foreign fighters killed: report

A pro-government Syrian daily on Tuesday published the names of 142 fighters from foreign countries killed in Syria over the past month, agencies report from Damascus. The Al-Watan daily said the government has sent the list to the UN Security Council. The list includes 47 Saudis, 24 Libyans, 10 Tunisians, nine Egyptians, six Qataris, five Lebanese, 11 Afghans, five Turks, three Chechens and two each from Azerbaijan and Chad. They were killed in the provinces of Aleppo, Homs, Idlib, Deir al-Zour and Hasaka.

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