Air Massacre in Maaret al-Numan, Syria as Fighting Intensifies

On October 9, the revolutionaries in Syria took the town of Maaret al-Numan in northern Idlib province for a second time, and began besieging the nearby Wadi Deif military base. From this position, the revolutionaries can cut off road access to Aleppo from the capital of Damascus. They are thus making it impossible for Bashar al-Assad’s forces to resupply their troops in the north or to take back the parts of Aleppo now controlled by the opposition.

Al-Assad’s response on Thursday was to bomb Maaret al-Numan and other towns in the area from the air. The bombs striking that and nearby towns hit residential units and, in Aleppo itself, a mosque, where families had gathered for safety, according to opposition sources. The death toll from the bombings of the past two days is at least 44, according to the estimates of the rebels. Videos from Maaret al-Numan showed children killed.

The indiscriminate bombing of known non-combatant residences and places of worship is a war crime.

Eurovision has video:

(courtesy Your Middle East .

All this comes just before the Muslim Feast of Sacrifice, on which special UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is attempting to arrange a truce.

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4 Responses

  1. I wonder what, exactly, Assad is trying to accomplish?

    The NYT’s piece today essentially argues that government forces don’t have the resources to hold on to re-occupied territory, so they’re just destroying rebel-held towns.

    Suppose that works. If he destroys the country, there won’t be anything left for him to rule over, no? The prospect in Syria is simply terrifying. The only good news is that it has yet to become an issue in the U.S. presidential campaign, because it’s ugly to contemplate where a serious by Romney to bait the administration on this issue could lead us. On the other hand I sure wish somebody could think of something useful to do. Does Lebanon go next? It’s starting to look like it might.


    • It’s a very good question. This is currently a no-win situation for Assad. His bombing campaigns have created enough cities which will never be willing to respect his government again, that he has no plausible endgame. I suppose he could finish off with simple mass murder and attempt to move colonists from his family into the vacated cities, but he doesn’t have the numbers for it.

  2. Dear Juan,

    do you have any further information on who the “opposition sources” are and how credible their information on the targets of the bombings and the death toll is? In Libya a great many of the claims made by the rebels turned out to be false, even though they were highly effective in rallying international support to their side. At a time when the drums of war are being beaten, one has to be extra cautious on what information to rely on.

    The other point I would like to make is how similar the description of “bombs striking residential units” is to similar reports about Nato bombs hitting civilian areas in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, … and Libya. I gues there is always the question whether it’s war crimes or collateral damage, but the question has to be asked regardless on who is doing the bombing.

    Best regards,


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