Nine dead in strike on school as fighting intensifies

Nine dead in strike on school as fighting intensifies
Five children killed in government strike on school in Aleppo where fighting between regime and opposition forces has intensified.
3 min read
12 April, 2015
Regime air raids cause destruction in Aleppo [Anadolu]

Five chilcren were killed Sunday and at least 35 civilians on Saturday as government forces and rebel fighters exchanged fire in Syria's main northern city of Aleppo.

On Sunday, a government airstrike hit a school in Alleppo killing nine civilians, including five children, according to a monitoring group

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – an opposition-linked UK-based monitor – said three teachers were also among the dead.

"Military aircraft struck a school in east Aleppo city and killed five children, three female teachers and one man," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 


He said a number of people were seriously wounded and the death toll was likely to rise. 

Earlier Sunday, the observatory released a statement on Saturday's victims, including from oppositon fire. Saturday's dead counted 18 civilians, including two children, killed in regime air strikes on al-Maadi and Sheikh al-Lutfi, two rebel-held neighbourhoods in east Aleppo.

"Seventeen other civilians were killed when rebel groups fired rockets on neighbourhoods controlled by the regime, including Suleimaniyah and other areas," the UK-based group said.

That account was disputed by Ahmed Hassan Mohammad director of the opposition news website Syria 24, who told al-Araby al-Jadeed only Syrian army missiles could have wrought that kind of damage on the Christian majority neighbourhood of al-Sulaimaniyah. He argued that the opposition does not have such effective weapons. 

Pictures circulating on social media depicted significant damage.

The Syrian regime has been bombing the northern Syrian city of Aleppo for several months. Dozens of barrel bombs have been dropped on the neighbourhoods of al-Maadi, al-Farous, Jab al-Qubba, Sayf al-Dawla and Bab al-Nayrab. 

At the same time, regime areas have been targeted by opposition mortar shells, especially the neighbourhoods of al-Khalidiyah, Nile Street, al-Hamdaniyah, al-Ashrafiyah and al-Furqan. 

Activist Hassan al-Halabi told al-Araby al-Jadeed a government helicopter dropped an explosive barrel Saturday afternoon on a crowded farmers' market in al-Maadi. Sixteen civilians were killed and surrounding buildings were damaged.

According to local news agency Shahba Press, at least six civilians were killed and others injured when the regime targeted a residential building in al-Shaar neighbourhood in east Aleppo with a vacuum bomb.

Other reports suggest four were killed early Sunday.

Fighting erupted in Aleppo in 2012, reducing swathes of Syria's former commercial hub to ruins.

Government forces control the west of the city and frequently bomb rebel-held neighbourhoods in the east from the air. The rebels often retaliate with rocket and mortar fire into government-held neighbourhoods. 

Both sides have been criticised by human rights groups for firing indiscriminately on civilians. 

According to the UN, some 220,000 people have been killed since the start of Syria's conflict in 2011.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition. 

With extra reporting from agencies.