AZAZ, Syria (Reuters) - Standing in the wreckage of his home, destroyed in an air strike two hours before, Abu Badri surveyed the damage as relatives scoured the rubble for any valuables they could retrieve.
“We’ll have to find a tent to stay in near the border with Turkey. What else can we do?” said the 38-year-old man, walking on a pile of broken concrete under a collapsed roof.
Abu Badri’s was one of a cluster of at least six houses destroyed by two bombs dropped on Saturday on Azaz, a rebel-controlled town in northern Syria just beginning to recover from an earlier bombardment by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
Eleven people were killed in the bombings, according to local activist Abu Zaid, who said he had seen their fresh graves dug in the cemetery nearby - another 11 names to add to the 45,000 reported killed in the 21-month uprising against Assad.
“The number of casualties is unclear - they took some wounded people to Turkey,” said a local medic who declined to be named. “We removed four dead children.”
Blood was spattered on the bricks that littered the area around the bomb site. A child’s teddy bear lay in the wreckage and nearby cars were marked by shrapnel and bullet holes.
A bulldozer cleared the heavy rubble while young boys dug through the debris with their hands, hoping to find people still alive amid the broken bed frames and crushed furniture.
“The bomb fell on top of us,” said Abu Badri, wearing a black bomber jacket zipped up against the winter cold. The front door of his home had disappeared and relatives were carrying out a closet door, drinking glasses, a fridge and an oven. He said four children and an elderly man were among the dead.
Neighbors pulled mattresses, carpets and clothes from their homes and packed household items on trucks to take them from their destroyed homes to the next place of refuge.
“This is a residential area,” said Ahmed, 30, whose uncle’s house was hit in the strike.
“There are civilians - no Free Syria Army,” he said, referring to rebel fighters Assad whom has vowed to crush but who now hold large swathes of rural territory across northern Syria, their control curbed only by the president’s air power.
“We were sitting inside then suddenly everyone flew all over the place,” said a man whose sister’s house was hit. “God destroy (Assad) and his home.” (Writing by Dominic Evans; Editing by Kevin Liffey)