Blackened corpses mutilated by shrapnel: The horrific images are the aftermath, activists say, of yet another barrel bombing by Syrian government forces.
The target of Wednesday’s strike was a displaced-persons camp in the northern Syrian province of Idlib, which has been the scene of recent heavy fighting between rebels and forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.
At least 10 people were reported killed and scores wounded in the strike. And in what has become a feature of the ferocious civil war, residents of the Abedin camp uploaded grisly images to the video-sharing site YouTube.
The images, which could not be independently authenticated, depict scenes of devastation, with bodies littering the ground and people rushing to try to help the injured.
The camp’s population is mostly from Hama province, which, like other areas in northern Syria, has been the target of near daily bombing runs by the Syrian air force.
Many attacks utilize barrel bombs -- cheap explosive canisters filled with scrap metal. They have no targeting capabilities and are often manually dropped from low-flying helicopters.
“This is the charred piece of flesh of a child,” cries one aid worker in the video, picking his way through debris strewn across an olive grove.
Although the aid worker claimed that 75 people had died, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition monitoring group with a network of activists on the ground, put the figure at 10.
Syrian state media did not report the attack, but the bombings drew a response from the Obama administration. The Reuters news agency quoted State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki as calling the strike “nothing short of barbaric.”
“Unfortunately, if it is confirmed to be the work of the [Assad] regime, it is only the latest act of brutality by the regime against its own people,” she told the news agency.
In Homs city, a car bomb wounded 38 people, with three in critical condition, according to Syrian state news agency SANA. The attack targeted the loyalist Zahraa neighborhood, whose residents are members of the Alawite sect, to which Assad belongs.
Homs, once known as “the cradle of the revolution” against Assad’s rule, was the site of intense clashes that devastated the city. Sunni rebels besieged in the city’s old quarter were given safe passage by a United Nations-brokered deal that saw fighters evacuate to a rural area of Homs province.
Car bomb attacks, however, have continued.
Bulos is a special correspondent. Staff writer Laura King in Cairo contributed to this report.