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Army kills dozens in Damascus suburb: watchdog

Over 40 killed during raid on Damascus suburb after regime forces reportedly targeted a funeral procession, says Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Wednesday

AFP , Wednesday 22 Aug 2012
A Member of the Free Syrian Army fires during clashes with Syrian Army soldiers as others take positions in Aleppo's Saif al-Dawla district, August 20, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Syrian forces have killed dozens of civilians in a raid on a Damascus suburb, a watchdog said on Wednesday, reporting that many of the victims were summarily executed and others killed at a funeral.

Of at least 198 people reported dead across Syria on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it has documented the names of at least 42 civilians killed when regime forces stormed Maadamiyat al-Sham.However, dozens more are feared dead in the mixed suburb, which is home to about 200,000 people including Christians, Alawites and Sunni Muslims and lies to the west of Damascus. 

"Initial reports say that the army targeted a funeral procession, killing at least 36 people," the Britain-based watchdog said, adding that it is working to document the victims' names.

The Observatory also said that dozens of unidentified bodies had been found in a basement in Maadamiyat al-Sham on Tuesday, the latest grisly find as the 17-month conflict becomes increasingly brutal. It is impossible to verify the claims.

Shelling by regime forces and fighting in the northern city of Aleppo on Tuesday also killed at least 31 civilians, including five women and five children, said the group, which has a network of monitors on the ground.

More than 23,000 people have been killed in Syria since the outbreak of an anti-regime revolt in March last year, according to the Observatory. The UN puts the death toll at 17,000.

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