Middle East

Syria air strike on Aleppo market 'kills more than 20'

People inspect a site hit by what activists said were barrel bombs dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the northern town of Atareb, in Aleppo province, 24 April 2014
The airstrike hit a busy market place, reportedly killing more than 20 people

A Syrian government air strike on a market in a rebel-held town has killed more than 20 people, activist groups say.

The air raid on Atareb, north of the city of Aleppo, also injured dozens of people, activists said.

Syria is engulfed in a three-year civil war, which has killed about 150,000 people.

Government forces have made gains recently, but rebels still control large territories.

Air strikes hit the busy vegetable market early on Thursday morning, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Observatory, which is close to the rebels, put the death toll at 27.

A man wearing a white coat stained in blood, inspects a site hit by what activists said were barrel bombs dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the northern town of Atareb, in Aleppo province, 24 April 2014
Activists said dozens were wounded after planes dropped barrel bombs on the town
Rebel fighters and civilians stand looking at a burning building following a reported barrel bomb attack by Syrian government forces in Aleppo, 20 April 2014
Aleppo is one of the rebel-held areas and is a major battleground in the civil war
Women hold each other as they are seen at a site hit by what activists said were barrel bombs dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the northern town of Atareb, in Aleppo province, 24 April 2014
Syria's three-year conflict has killed about 150,000 people and displaced millions

Meanwhile the Aleppo Media Center, an activist group, said that more than 20 people were killed in the air raid, AP news agency reported.

Video footage reportedly from the scene showed bodies lying among rubble and debris from the market.

Rami Abdel Rahman, who directs the Observatory, told AFP news agency all the people killed in the air strikes were civilians.

Abu Omar, a local activist, told the agency: "The area that was struck today is a market area, that's why there were so many civilians killed.

"The regime is hitting back against the civilians who support the revolt" against President Bashar al-Assad, he added.

Earlier this week, the Syrian government announced that it would hold presidential elections on 3 June, a plan denounced by the UN, US and EU.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has also accused both sides of "flagrant violations" of international law over the delivery of aid, preventing nearly 3.5m civilians access to vital aid and medicines.