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Published: Thursday April 24, 2014 MYT 11:55:02 PM
Updated: Thursday April 24, 2014 MYT 11:55:58 PM

Syrian air strikes kill dozens at market near Aleppo -report

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A Syrian air force raid on a rebel-held town near Aleppo on Thursday killed and wounded dozens of people at a vegetable market, activists said.

President Bashar al-Assad's forces have stepped up their aerial bombardment of Aleppo and surrounding towns after making gains around Damascus and in central Syria.

The Britain-based anti-Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said planes bombed the market in the town of Atareb on Thursday morning, killing 27 people and seriously wounding many others.

Video footage from the aftermath of the strike, about 30 km (20 miles) west of Aleppo, showed charred bodies in a street among rubble and burning debris.

The force of the blast destroyed at least one building and tore through the vegetable market, leaving bright piles of cucumbers and tomatoes amid the dust-covered corpses and rubble.

Rebels have fought back in the north-west and southern parts of Aleppo, causing heavy casualties with their own rockets and missiles, according to a United Nations report issued this week.

The civil war, now in its fourth year, has killed more than 150,000 people and displaced many millions of others. More than 2.5 million people have fled the country.

(Reporting by Dominic Evans; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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