A series of mortar attacks against the rebel-held town of Ariha struck a marketplace full of civilians today, killing 20 of them according to opposition figures familiar with the situation. Two women and two children were among the slain.
The town has been one of many contested off and on in recent weeks, but there was no indication why it was targeted today, yet alone why the marketplace was hit by mortar shells.
Civilians have been bearing a heavy burden in the ongoing civil war, and 13 others were reported killed today in Baida when they were attacked by a militia from the nearby town of Banias. The Banias militia was nominally pro-Assad, though such local disputes rarely involve national forces.
In addition to these incidents, Assad forces ambushed a large number of rebels north of Damascus, killing an estimated 50, and Kurdish and Islamist rebels negotiated a prisoner exchange in the northeast after several days of fighting.
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