Syrian Market Bombing Death Toll Tops 100

Aug. 17 - The Syrian air force continued bombing north of Damascus Monday, one day after bombing a market area in the area. About 100 people were killed in that Sunday attack in Douma, an air raid which escalated fighting near the Syrian capital and was condemned by human rights and humanitarian workers.

At least 10 rockets were fired into a crowed marketplace around noon on Sunday, said the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Observatory said the Syrian air force was also accused of continuing to fire after rescue personnel arrive on the scene.

Attack on Food Market

"Assad’s air force targeted a marketplace while the residents of Douma were exchanging what has remained of food supplies after two years of a suffocating siege," said Syrian Coalition president Khaled Khoja in a statement from Turkey today.

On-the-ground citizen video, distributed by NBCnews.com, showed a bleak landscape of destroyed building and cars sitting amidst rubble.

Response workers in Douma on Monday said that 112 people were being prepared for burial.

The air attack came a day after fighters with the Jaish al-Islam militia attacked Syrian military positions in nearby Harasta.

Stephen O'Brien, the UN under secretary for humanitarian affairs, condemned the attack as he ended a three-day visit to Syria.

“Attacks on civilians are unlawful, unacceptable and must stop," he said. "I am particularly appalled about reports of yesterday's airstrikes, causing scores of civilian deaths and hundreds injured, right in the centre of Douma, a besieged part of Damascus."

Water Shortages

O'Brien also said that all sides, including non-State insurgents, should refrain from actions that cut off water to civilians. The UN reported that in Damascus 5 million people have suffered water cut-offs in the last three days; in Aleppo three million have faced water shortages for 17 days this year, and in Daara 300,000 have contended with shortages seven days.

“It is unacceptable for those engaged in conflict to use access to water and other services as a weapon of war,” O'Brien said.

Truce Collapses in Zabadani

Also over the weekend a truce in the mountain town of Zabadani failed to hold in its final hours.

Last Wednesday, Islamic insurgents holding the town agreed to a truce with the Syrian army and its Hezbollah allies. The truce had been brokered by Turkey and Iran.

Talks continued last week, but issues related to population relocation and prisoner releases were unacceptable to the competing factions. On Saturday, the truce faltered and fighting resumed.

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