A military air strike on the town of Salqeen in Syria’s mostly rebel-held province of Idlib has killed 17 people, including five children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports.

Another seven civilians died in army shelling in the provinces of Daraa, Hama and Homs, the Britain-based watchdog said on Monday.

“Seventeen civilians, including five children, were killed in bombing on the town of Salqeen and the number is expected to rise because many are in critical condition,” the observatory said, citing an activist and a medical source.

“This was a single air strike that hit several buildings,” observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

In a video released by activists in Salqeen, which could not immediately be verified, several victims are seen piled in the back of a pick-up truck, their bodies charred black with limbs torn off.

“My God, my son is dead,” a man wails as he looks on at the bloody disfigured corpses, finally putting his hand over his eyes.

According to Abdel Rahman, among the dead were three children from the same family.

Salqeen is about 5km from the Turkish border.

“Turkish ambulances are waiting at the Bab al-Hawa crossing for the wounded, as there are no decent hospitals on the Syrian side,” Abdel Rahman said.

He said that Syrian regime forces had tried to enter the town in the morning but were pushed back by rebel fighters. The air strike followed soon afterwards.

The observatory also reported that five people, including a woman and her father, were killed when loyalist forces on Monday shelled the town of Tafas, in the southern province of Daraa where the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad’s autocratic rule erupted in March last year.

The uprising, which began with peaceful protests for reform which were brutally crushed, has turned into a civil war pitting mainly Sunni rebels against al-Assad’s minority Alawite-dominated regime.

Activists say more than 30,000 people have died in the conflict.

The observatory, which relies on information from a network of activists and medics on the ground, said that on Sunday alone, 126 people were killed across the country – 48 civilians, 63 soldiers and 15 rebels.

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