At least 23 killed in airstrikes across Syria, activists say

Syrian government aircraft bombed rebel-held areas in the capital's suburbs and a northern town and surrounding villages controlled by the Islamic State group, including a strike on a local hospital, killing at least 23 people Wednesday, activists said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the airstrikes on the town of Dayr Hafir and surrounding villages in the northern province of Aleppo killed at least 12 people, including women and children, and wounded at least 40.  The group said the casualty figures are likely to rise.

Activist Abu al-Hassan Marea, who is based near the town, told The Associated Press the airstrikes in Dayr Hafir hit a local hospital, killing at least 21 people, mostly civilians and medics. The Aleppo Media Center activist group said the strike on the hospital killed 23, mostly civilians.

Marea said another airstrike on a nearby village, also held by Islamic State fighters, killed seven people.

The discrepancies in the casualty figures could not be immediately reconciled, but such differences are common in the chaotic aftermath of attacks in Syria.

Aleppo, once Syria's commercial center, has been carved up into areas controlled by the government and others controlled by an array of rebels since an opposition offensive in mid-2012. Long a stronghold for Syrian rebels, the area, a strategic stretch because of its proximity to the Turkish border, has been a flash point since the Islamic State group advanced into the region several months ago.

Also Wednesday, the Observatory said government airstrikes killed at least 11 people, including two women, in rebel-held areas in the suburbs of the capital Damascus, and wounded others.

The Local Coordination Committees, another activist group that tracks the Syrian civil war, also said 11 people from the suburbs Harasta and Douma were killed, including the two women.

The government repeatedly has targeted rebel strongholds in the capital's suburbs. The rebels have carried out mortar and rocket attacks that occasionally reach areas near the city center.