Middle East

Children among dead in 'Aleppo airstrike'

Syrian government attack on Kurdish neighbourhood of northern city kills at least 15, including nine children.

Last Modified: 07 Apr 2013 00:05
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
YouTube video image grab shows bodies after airstrike on mainly Kurdish district of Sheikh Maqsoud in Aleppo [AFP]

A Syrian government airstrike on a heavily contested neighbourhood in the northern city of Aleppo has killed at least 15 people, including nine children, activists have said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the air raid hit Aleppo's Sheikh Maqsoud neighbourhood, which rebels seized parts of last weekend after days of heavy fighting with regime troops.

Aleppo is Syria's largest city and a key front in the civil war raging between President Bashar al-Assad and those trying to overthrow his regime.

An amateur video of the raid showed people loading the bodies of three bloodied children and two men in the back of a pickup truck as women screamed and explosions went off in the distance.

Another boy was seen lying dead in the street near a burning truck.

Both sides want control of the strategic district, which is predominantly inhabited by minority Kurds.

The rebels now control large swaths of northern Syria, and captured their first provincial capital - the city of Raqqa - last month.

They have also been making gains in recent weeks in the south, seizing military bases and towns in the strategically important region between Damascus and the border with Jordan, about 160km from the capital.

Meanwhile, in Damascus, mortar rounds hit the residential district of Kafr Souseh on the city's western outskirts, killing one person and wounding at least 13, the state-run SANA news agency said.

It was not immediately clear who fired the shells.

Turkish backlash

Turkey on Saturday sharply refuted statements by Assad who said in an interview on Friday that Turkey was knowingly sheltering and supplying rebels with the help of Israel.

"Bashar al-Assad is living in his own world of imagination," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.

"Arguments that Turkey and Israel would co-operate against Syria are totally groundless; Turkey would never discuss matters relating to a neighbouring country with a third party like Israel.

"Turkey shares its destiny with its neighbours - these are only Assad's efforts to hide his massacres, we do not take them seriously."

"My position is that I am on the side of the Syrian people; I support the freedom and the sovereignty of the people."

- Tammam Salam, Lebanon's premier-designate

Lebanon's prime minister-designate Tammam Salam told AFP news agency on Saturday that he supported the freedom of the Syrian people while insisting his country should remain neutral in its neighbour's civil war.

"My position is that I am on the side of the Syrian people; I support the freedom and the sovereignty of the people," Salam said, hours after being named by President Michel Sleiman to form a new government.

Also on Saturday, the newly-elected prime minister of the Western-backed opposition umbrella group in Syria, Ghassan Hitto, started reviewing candidates for a planned rebel interim government that will consist of 11 ministries and be based inside Syria, according to a statement by the Syrian National Coalition.

The candidates for ministerial and deputy positions must be Syrian citizens older than 35 years old, the statement said.

It added that high-ranking regime officials or "those who have committed crimes against the Syrian people or have unlawfully seized Syrian property or wealth" will be excluded from consideration.

The Western-backed opposition alliance has been marred by severe divisions in its ranks since its formation late last year in Qatar, and its leaders are mostly seen as disconnected from the myriad rebel forces fighting inside Syria.

In all, more than 70,000 people have been killed in Syria since March 2011, the UN says.


Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.