Assad celebrates Eid as ‘dozens die in northern Syria’

Activists says dozens killed in separate attacks in north, as Syrian president performs Eid al-Fitr prayers in Damascus.

A woman walks past graves as she visits a cemetery
At least 230,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising erupted in March 2011 [Reuters]

Dozens of people have been killed in separate attacks in Syria’s north, marring what is supposed to be a festive holiday for Muslims in the country and worldwide.

Syrian army planes on Friday, the first day of Eid al-Fitr, dropped barrel bombs on the town of al-Bab in Aleppo province, killing at least five people and injuring 11 other, activists have said.

The attack on the town, which is under control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), comes a day after a bombardment campaign by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces that left 11 people dead. 

In Idlib province, just after the end of the holy month of Ramadan was announced on Thursday evening, 17 people died in a barrel bombardment on the village of Maarat Masrin. Another 11 people were killed in the village of Ourm al-Joz.

Smiling Assad

Away from the violence, the Syrian news agency SANA published photographs showing a smiling Assad surrounded by religious figures as they performed Eid prayers at a mosque in the capital Damascus. 

Assad attended Eid al-Fitr prayers at al-Hamad mosque in Damascus, Syria [Reuters]
Assad attended Eid al-Fitr prayers at al-Hamad mosque in Damascus, Syria [Reuters]

SANA reported that he was accompanied by “high-ranking officials from the [ruling Baath] party and from the state”.

The agency said the mosque’s imam, Sheikh Mohammad Sharif al-Sawaf, “prayed to God to save Syria, its leader, its army and its people, and to bring victory against its enemies”.

Damascus has been largely spared the devastation wrought on other Syrian cities by more than four years of conflict, although there has been periodic mortar and rocket fire by rebels entrenched in the suburbs.

Assad has made few public appearances since the uprising against his rule erupted in March 2011. 

At least 230,000 people have been killed since then.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies