Air strikes kill over 40 in northern Syria: monitoring group

BEIRUT Thu May 15, 2014 3:01am EDT

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - More than 40 people, many of them civilians, were killed by air strikes across northern Syria, a monitoring group said on Thursday.

More than three years into a revolt against President Bashar al-Assad, rebels are struggling to counter government warplanes which routinely bomb military and civilian targets.

On Wednesday, 15 people were killed, including three from an emergency medical team, during five air raids in Atarib in the northern Aleppo province, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said early on Thursday.

Four rebel fighters were killed by air strikes in the same area, while 21 people, including women, were killed in air strikes on the Sarmada area in northwestern Idlib province, the anti-Assad monitoring group said.

Gun battles, air strikes, car bombs, shelling and executions regularly kill over 200 people a day in Syria, where the conflict that started as a peaceful protest movement has claimed over 150,000 lives and forced millions from their homes.

Despite the carnage and the loss of swathes of territory in the north and east to insurgents, authorities plan to hold a presidential election next month all but certain to give Assad a third term. Opponents have dismissed the vote as a farce.

(Reporting by Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by John Stonestreet)

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