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Rebel fire kills 6 children in Aleppo

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Syrian government forces walk in the strategic area of the Bazo hilltop, north of Khan Tuman on the southern outskirts of the northern embattled Syrian city of Aleppo as they advance in the ongoing offensive to seize the rebel-held eastern part of the city on October 25, 2016. Government forces and allied fighters are advancing on the southern outskirts of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Humman Rights reported, seizing territory overlooking rebel-held areas. / AFP PHOTO / GEORGE OURFALIAN

Syrian government forces walk in the strategic area of the Bazo hilltop, north of Khan Tuman on the southern outskirts of the northern embattled Syrian city of Aleppo as they advance in the ongoing offensive to seize the rebel-held eastern part of the city on October 25, 2016. Government forces and allied fighters are advancing on the southern outskirts of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Humman Rights reported, seizing territory overlooking rebel-held areas. / AFP PHOTO / GEORGE OURFALIAN

At least six children were killed and 15 injured in rebel rocket attacks in the government-held west of Aleppo city on Thursday, Syrian state media said.

A monitoring group said a child was also among at least eight people killed in government shelling on the rebel-held town of Douma outside Damascus.

The rocket fire in Aleppo hit two neighbourhoods in the west of the city, with one of the attacks striking a school.

“Three children were killed and 14 students were injured in a terrorist rocket attack on the national school in the Shahba neighbourhood of Aleppo,” state news agency SANA reported.

It added that the attack also damaged the school.

A second rocket attack hit a house in the Hamdaniyeh neighbourhood, killing three brothers and injuring a fourth, SANA said.

The two neighbourhoods are in the west of the city, which has been roughly divided since mid-2012, when rebels seized its eastern half.

Rebels regularly fire crude homemade rockets into government neighbourhoods, often killing civilians.

Regime forces backed by ally Russia have waged an aerial and ground assault since late September to recapture eastern Aleppo, killing hundreds of civilians and destroying infrastructure including hospitals.

On Wednesday the UN children’s agency UNICEF said 22 children had been killed along with six teachers in air strikes on a school in rebel-held Idlib province.

The strikes, carried out by either Russian or Syrian warplanes according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, hit the village of Hass.

Moscow denied any involvement in the raids.

The British-based Observatory, which has a network of sources in Syria, gave a toll of 36 dead, among them 15 children and four teachers.

The incident prompted outrage from UNICEF director Anthony Lake.

“This is a tragedy. It is an outrage. And if deliberate, it is a war crime,” he said, adding that the school complex had been hit repeatedly.

Outside Damascus meanwhile, at least eight people were killed on Thursday in government shelling on Douma in the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta region, the Observatory said.

Douma is regularly targeted by government fire, and in recent months regime forces have waged an offensive in the area, which has also been under siege since 2013.

At a makeshift hospital in the town, an AFP photographer saw medics using a defibrillator on one man, his face speckled with blood.

On a stretcher nearby, a wounded man lay with his artificial leg detached and lying on top of him, smeared with his blood.

More than 300,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests.


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