The Two-Way
8:59 am
Sun December 23, 2012

Syrian Airstrikes Hit Bakery: 'Piles Of Bodies'

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 10:42 am

Syrian activists are reporting that a government airstrike has killed tens of people at a bakery near the central city of Hama.

A video posted by anti-regime activists could not be verified, but shows a mass of rubble and bodies in front of a charred building. Rescuers shout as they look for survivors among the dead.

"I could see piles of bodies all over the ground," activist Samer al-Hamawi told Reuters. People had been queuing for bread in the town of Halfaya; fuel and flour shortages have led to long lines at bakeries across the country.

"We hadn't received flour in around three days, so everyone was going to the bakery today, and lots of them were women and children," Hamawi said. "I still don't know yet if my relatives are among the dead."

The region around Hama is a stronghold of anti-government sentiment; Halfaya was declared a "liberated area" by rebels just last week. The BBC notes other airstrikes on Sunday, including one in northern Aleppo province, have also proven deadly.

As the situation continues to worsen, NPR's Peter Kenyon reports, special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is arriving in Damascus for talks with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. It's been two months since he last met with Bashar, and thus far, Kenyon says, "Brahimi's efforts to win a cease-fire and bring the government and opposition factions to the negotiating table have been unsuccessful."

Brahimi's latest visit reflects the deteriorating conditions, Kenyon adds. "Instead of flying to Damascus, the envoy landed in Beirut and is traveling to Syria by car, reportedly because of recent fighting around the Damascus airport."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.