The rebel-held town of Jayrud has mostly stayed out of the Syrian Civil War until the past few days, having a truce with the army that has made it a popular magnet for refugees around the region. That appears to ahve come to an end with the killing of a Syrian pilot in the area.
The pilot parachuted out near Jayrud, and was executed on the ground, reportedly by al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front. The Syrian military had subsequently hit the town hard, killing 31 people, including two medics and a large number of other civilians.
The rebels are describing the attacks as “revenge” for the pilot’s execution, though they insist that the execution had nothing to do with the town itself. The Syrian military did not comment directly on the attack, but had vowed the pilot’s killing would “not go unpunished.”
Essentially a suburb of Damascus, Jayrud is one of several local truces that have been struck over the course of a multi-year civil war in Syria, though as this weekend has proven, those truces are often very tenuous, and it doesn’t take much to return the area to a state of open warfare.