More than 300 people were reportedly killed in airstrike near a bakery in the town of Halfaya in the central Syrian province of Hama.
“There is no way to really know yet how many people were killed. When I got there, I could see piles of bodies all over the ground. There were women and children,” Samer al-Hamawi, an activist in the town of Halfaya, where the strike hit, told Reuters. “There are also dozens of wounded people”
Halfaya was seized by rebels last week as part of a campaign to push into new territories in the 21-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said “dozens of people were killed in an air strike on Halfaya.”
“In Halfaya, regime forces bombarded a bakery and committed a massacre that killed dozens of people, including women and children, and wounded many others,” said the Local Coordination Committees, a grassroots network of activists.
“A MiG (jet) has attacked! Look at (President Bashar al-) Assad’s weapons. Look, world, look at the Halfaya massacre,” says an unidentified cameraman shooting an amateur video distributed by the Observatory.
Activists said more than a thousand people had been queuing at the bakery. Shortages of fuel and flour have made bread production erratic across the country, and people often wait for hours to buy bread.
The footage showed a bombed one-storey block, and a crater in the road beside it.
Bloodied bodies lay on the road, while others could be seen in the rubble.
Men carried victims out on their backs, among them at least one woman, the video showed.
On Monday, rebels launched an all-out assault on army positions across Hama, which is home to strong anti-regime sentiment.
During the summer, rights groups accused government forces of committing war crimes by dropping bombs and using artillery on or near several bakeries in the northern province of Aleppo.
One of the bloodiest attacks was on a bread line in the Qadi Askar district of Aleppo city on August 16 that left 60 people dead, according to local hospital records.
New York-based Human Rights Watch condemned army air strikes on bakeries earlier this year, arguing that in some incidents the military was not using enough precision to target rebel sites and in other instances may have intentionally hit civilians.
“We hadn’t received flour in around three days so everyone was going to the bakery today, and lots of them were women and children,” Hamawi said. “I still don’t know yet if my relatives are among the dead.