Children killed in Syria bombardment: watchdog
Shelling on Sunday targeting the town of Hazzeh east of Damascus killed at least nine people including a number of children, a watchdog said, as the Syrian regime pressed its offensive against rebels.world Updated: Jan 13, 2013 20:31 IST
Shelling on Sunday targeting the town of Hazzeh east of Damascus killed at least nine people including a number of children, a watchdog said, as the Syrian regime pressed its offensive against rebels.
Warplanes also pounded rebel zones on the outskirts of Damascus and in the northern province of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights added, giving a preliminary death toll of 28 for Sunday.
"At least nine civilians, many of them children, were killed in shelling on the Hazzeh area of Eastern Ghuta," it said.
Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP that he was unable to immediately confirm how many children had been killed in the artillery attack, but "at least two of the victims were aged under four years."
Amateur video posted on the Internet by Hazzeh-based activists showed a young man carrying the bloodied body of a young boy away from the site of the attack.
The grisly footage also showed other victims lying in the mud. At least two of the bodies shown in the video were those of children.
According to the Observatory, more than 3,500 children have been killed in Syria since the outbreak in March 2011 of a peaceful uprising that morphed into an insurgency after President Bashar al-Assad's cracked down hard on dissent.
News of the Hazzeh attack came hours after warplanes bombarded Sfeireh in Aleppo province, as well as Daraya, southwest of Damascus, the monitoring group said.
The Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a network of activists, doctors and lawyers inside Syria, also reported fierce clashes between rebels and the army in Daraya and in the Barzeh district of northern Damascus.
Violence around the capital has been on the rise since the army last July launched an offensive against rebels who had moved into several neighbourhoods.
Analysts say the regime is attempting to secure an area of control in a radius of about eight kilometres (five miles) around the city.
Sunday's violence follows a day in which 95 people -- 33 civilians, 39 rebel fighters and 23 soldiers -- were killed nationwide, the Observatory said.
The United Nations says that more than 60,000 people have been killed over the past nearly 22 months of the conflict in Syria.