Activists: Syrian air raids kill 49 in northwestern village

Activists say government airstrikes on a northwestern Syrian village have killed at least 49 people.
The Local Coordination Committees says two air raids on the village of Janoudiyeh in Idlib province on Monday killed 60 people and wounded others. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the air raid killed 49 people, including six children. It says the death toll could rise as some people are still missing.
Conflicting reports often emerge in the chaotic aftermath of such events. The Observatory says the air raid struck a public square in Janoudiyeh, near the town of Jisr al-Shughour, which was captured by insurgents in April. Activist say thousands of people have been killed in government airstrikes since Syriaand’s conflict began in March 2011.
Syriaand’s prime minister on Monday called on young Syrians to fulfill their mandatory military service obligation, promising better pay for troops on the front lines as well as one hot meal a day.
President Bashar Assadand’s army has faced a severe shortage of manpower as thousands of soldiers have deserted or dodged national service. Analysts have said the militaryand’s dwindling ranks are a key factor behind the aance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group as well as rebels and other insurgents in recent months.
andquotToday we must unite more than ever in backing our army and to fulfill the call of duty through mandatory military service,andquot Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi told parliament, adding that the army andquotis the real guarantor for the unity of our land.andquot
Syrian men with university degrees must spend 18 months in the military, usually after graduation, while those with a high school degree or less must serve for two years starting at age 18. Since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011, many have been forced to extend their service, according to residents and activists.
In March, insurgents seized the northern city of Idlib — the second provincial capital to fall out of the governmentand’s hands — and last month the ISIL group overran the historic central town of Palmyra. Rebels in southern Syria captured a border crossing with Jordan and a nearby strategic town earlier this year.
andquotLosing any city or any area in Syria does not mean that the war is lost,andquot al-Halqi said. He added that the army will strike back against militants, saying andquotwherever they step will be their graves.andquot
The prime minister added that on the orders of Assad himself, a plan is being drawn up that would pay an extra 10,000 Syrian pounds ($35) per month for soldiers on the front lines, starting next month. He added that andquotthe heroes standing on the front lines will receive a meal of hot food.andquot

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman