New air strikes on Syria's Aleppo 'kill dozens': NGO

AFP , Sunday 22 Dec 2013

Dozens of people were killed in an eighth day of air strikes on Aleppo in Syria on Sunday, a watchdog said, as a bombing in Homs killed five schoolchildren.

"Dozens of people were killed or wounded" in attacks that saw loyalist warplanes drop so-called barrel bombs near the Friday market in Aleppo city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Separate attacks also targeted the rebel-held Sakhur, Ahmadiyeh, Baideen and Ard al-Hamra neighbourhoods of the former commercial capital, it said.

The Aleppo Media Centre, a network of citizen journalists on the ground, also reported the attacks, adding that the barrel bomb attack "destroyed a bus, leaving no survivors".

The bombing also destroyed "some 10 cars, as well as a residential building," the AMC said.

It added that "hospitals are packed with wounded", and that the number of dead could not yet be confirmed.

The air force was "continuing to bombard several areas of Aleppo," the AMC added.

It posted footage on the Internet showing pools of blood inside the wreckage of the bus that was hit.

A second video showed burning vehicles, while images distributed by activists showed the bloodstained faces of wounded children.

The Observatory also reported a man and his son were killed in bombing on the Aleppo province village of Atareb, while a man, woman and child from one family were killed in Marea in the same province.

Footage distributed by Shahba Press, another network of citizen journalists, showed children in a bombed-out school in Marea, as one said "the warplane staged four raids here" while classes were on.

The Syrian Revolution General Commission, a network of grassroots activists, described "panic and mass flight to the countryside, despite the intense cold".

On Saturday, Human Rights Watch accused regime forces of "wreaking disaster" in Aleppo with its intense aerial bombing campaign, which has killed hundreds in the past week.

In the central province of Homs, a car bombing on Sunday killed eight people, six of them schoolchildren, the official SANA news agency reported.

"Terrorists blew up a car bomb near the primary school in the town of Omm al-Amd in the countryside outside Homs, killing eight people including six children, and wounding 34 others," SANA said.

The Observatory reported a higher death toll of at least 12, including five children.

It said Omm al-Amd is home to a Shiite community close to the Alawite sect of President Bashar al-Assad, unlike the majority Sunni Muslim rebels fighting to topple him.

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