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Middle East

More barrel bombs hit Syria's Aleppo

Dozens killed in barrel-bomb strikes in rebel held Aleppo, activists say, as Assad visits Christian town to mark Easter.

Last updated: 20 Apr 2014 23:38
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President Assad visited the Christian town of Maaloula, which his forces recaptured last week [Reuters]

Activists have claimed that Syrian warplanes have targeted the neighbourhood of al-Fardous in Aleppo city with barrel bombs, killing at least 40 people.

A video posted on Saturday to YouTube showed severe damage on buildings and the street, while firefighters extinguished the fire. The number of casualties remained unclear.

At least 10 people were also killed in another barrel bomb attack in the suburb of Biideen, activists claimed. Videos posted online showed buildings engulfed in fire creating large plumes of smoke rising over the city.

Barrel bombs are imprecise weapons, causing extensive damages and at least 1,000 people have been killed in such attacks since mid-December, activists say.

Al Jazeera cannot independently verify the authenticity of the activist videos.

Yarmouk access blocked

Meanwhile, the United Nations has warned that residents of the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus are in danger of starving to death.

Chris Gunness, the spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees said that they were not authorised to distribute food and have been unable to provide assistance inside the camp for over a week.

Former US Ambassador to Syria Richard Murphy, discusses the plight of Syrian refugees today.

"[The UNWRA] have had 12 members of staff killed, trying to deliver aid. So it's a very very dangerous situation. UNRWA is ready. We have food in our warehouse in Damascus, we can take it in, [but] what we need is security, substantial access, secure access," said Gunness.

State media reported on Sunday that President Bashar al-Assad visited the ancient Christian town of Maaloula, which his forces recaptured last week, to mark the Easter holiday.

John Yazigi, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch in Syria, said that Christians "will not submit and yield" to fighters who attack "our people and holy places". Christians represent about five percent of Syria's population.

The same day, French President Francois Hollande, told a local radio station that he has "several elements" suggesting the recent use of chemical weapons in Syria, but had no definitive proof.

Syria's bloody war is entering its fourth year, with no end in sight and a rising death toll. At least 150,000 people have been killed since the conflict began in March 2011 as largely peaceful protests against Assad's rule.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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