At least 44 people were killed in air strikes on the Syrian rebel-held town of Maaret al-Numan on Thursday, rescue workers told an AFP journalist at the scene.
"We have recovered 44 corpses from under the rubble," one rescue worker said.
He said the air force's bombs had destroyed two residential buildings and a mosque, where many women and children were taking refuge.
In a makeshift field hospital, the AFP journalist saw 12 corpses wrapped in white sheets, and plastic bags marked "body parts."
"At the moment it seems only three people survived the attack, including a two-year-old child," said medic Jaffar Sharhoub. "He survived in the arms of his dead father."
A resident who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity said several of the dead had just returned from Kafr Nabal, a town west of Maaret al-Numan. "They thought the danger had passed."
Several fighter jets flew over Maaret al-Numan and the surrounding area throughout Thursday morning.
They made short dives to drop at least 10 bombs on the town and its eastern outskirts, near the Wadi Deif army base which is under rebel siege.
Strategically located on the Damascus-Aleppo highway, Maaret al-Numan was seized by rebels early last week.
by Park Chan-Kyong Â© 2012 AFP
Date: Oct 18, 2012