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Rami Abdurrahman, the director of the Britain-based, pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), said the deadliest of the three raids Saturday was the attack on the rebel-held town of al-Bab near the northern city of Aleppo. He said that strike killed 22.
Abdurrahman said fighter jets also bombed two rebel-held districts of Aleppo, Syria's largest city. In the Halwaniyeh neighborhood, he says government warplanes missed their target and that the strike sent bombs into a crowded vegetable market, killing 15 people. The Observatory also said seven people died in a third airstrike in the Karam el-Beik district.
Syrian state television confirmed the fighter jets were in the north, but said they targeted "gatherings of terrorists" in Aleppo, killing a large number of them. Syrian state media routinely refers to rebels fighting to topple Assad's government as "terrorists."
Another activist group, the Aleppo Media Network, confirmed Saturday's airstrikes and posted a video of what it said was the aftermath of the al-Bab raid. Plumes of smoke rose from twisted metal and chunks of broken-up concrete strewn on the ground. The Associated Press reported that the video appeared to be authentic.
Air power has been Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's greatest advantage in the civil war, which started in 2011 as a peaceful uprising against Assad but deteriorated into an all-out civil war after government forces violently cracked down on protesters.
Meanwhile, fighters from Al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra ousted government troops from the al-Omar field Saturday during an overnight battle, Abdurrahman said. There was, however, no immediate comment from the government.
It is not clear if the field is operational and it's also unknown how much the raid would affect the military capabilities of Assad's forces, but SOHR said it would be a major blow.
"Now, nearly all of Syria's usable oil reserves are in the hands of the Nusra Front and other Islamist units," Abdelrahman said. "The regime's neck is now in Nusra's hands."
Before Syria's conflict began, oil revenues amounted to about a quarter of the government's budget. In 2010, Syria produced about 380,000 barrels a day.
However, oil exports have ground to nearly a standstill since. Assad's government now imports refined fuel supplies to keep up with demand amid shortages and rising prices. Losing the al-Omar oil field would mean Assad's forces would be almost completely reliant on imported oil in their fight to end the country's 2 1/2-year revolt.
In late 2012, rebels began seizing fields in Deir el-Zour, one of two main centers of oil production. In February, they captured the large Jbeysa oil field after three days of fighting. A year ago, rebels briefly captured al-Omar field only to lose it to government troops days later.
Rebels largely have been unable to benefit from the oil takeovers. The country's two refineries remain under government control and the threat of airstrikes make working the fields difficult.
Also Saturday, a pro-government television station said gunmen fired at a vehicle belonging to a Syrian cabinet minister, killing his driver. Al-Ekhbariya said Minister Ali Haider was not in the car when it came under fire while traveling on a highway that links the central city of Hama with Tartous on the Mediterranean coast. A government media office confirmed the report.