'Dozens' killed and wounded in Syria airstrike on market

AP News
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Posted: Jan 20, 2015 9:12 AM

BEIRUT (AP) — Activists said "dozens" of people were killed and wounded on Tuesday in a Syrian government airstrike on a livestock market in an Islamic State stronghold.

Two activist-run monitoring groups, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees, said the attack occurred Tuesday in the far eastern village of Khansaa, near the Syria-Iraq border. Khansaa is held by the Islamic State militant group.

The monitoring groups did not give precise death tolls. The Observatory said "dozens" were killed and wounded. Other activists gave estimates ranging from 30 to 75 people killed. Conflicting tolls are common in the chaotic aftermath of violent incidents in Syria.

Even if the lower death toll is confirmed, it would be one of the deadliest government attacks using so-called barrel bombs -- crude canisters laden with explosives which are usually dropped from helicopters. Such bombs cannot be precisely targeted and activists say they have killed thousands of civilians.

The U.N. estimates that Syria's four-year conflict has killed over 220,000 people.