Air strikes kills dozens at Syrian bakery

Residents walk near a bakery damaged by what Syrian activists claim were missiles fired by a Syrian Air Force fighter jet. Photo: Reuters/Handout

Dozens of people have been killed and wounded in an air strike on a bakery in Syria's central Hama province, with activists reporting up to 200 dead. The strike hit Halfaya, a town recently seized by rebels in a new push to take territory in Hama.

Rebels have been clashing with government forces is recent days in the region around Halfaya, some 25 kms (15 miles) north west of Hama.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that "tens of people" were killed in the air strike reported to be by a Syrian Air Force fighter jet.

One activist said: "We cannot get an exact figure yet because we are still confused about which are dead and which are wounded", but counted 60 had been killed. According to Reuters, the Syrian Observatory said:

The number is likely to rise because there are dozens of wounded being treated in the area and nearby hospitals, among them 50 in critical condition.

Opposition activists claimed that people killed were queuing for bread at a bakery before the attack. The town was thought to have been without flour supplies for several days.

ITV News cannot independently verify the location or content in this report by Ellie Price which contains some disturbing images.

For the past week, rebels have been launching attacks in the area, most notably in the nearby village of Morek, where they hope to seize control of the country's main north-south highway, preventing the regime from getting supplies to its forces further north in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo.

UN envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi arrives in Damascus. Credit: Reuters/ Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

The attack coincided with the start of a two-day visit by international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who arrived in Damascus to push for a negotiated solution to the Syrian conflict.

Mr Brahimi has made little apparent progress toward ending Syria's crisis since assuming his post in September. He had to drive from neighbouring Lebanon because fighting around Damascus International Airport has effectively shut it down.

Syrian information minister Omran al-Zoubi on Sunday equated the rebels with al-Qaida and denied they had taken over any territory. Credit: Reuters

In a news conference today, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi repeated the Syrian government's line that revels and their foreign allies should "forget" trying to topple Syrian president Bashar Assad.

Mr Brahimi, who replaced Kofi Annan after the former UN chief failed to get Assad and world powers to agree on a way to end the conflict, is expected to meed the president tomorrow.