Syrian rocket attack on Aleppo district kills 20 - activists

AMMAN Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:06pm IST

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AMMAN (Reuters) - A Syrian army rocket attack on a rebel-held district in the city of Aleppo killed at least 20 people and another 25 were missing, opposition activists said on Tuesday.

The missile was identified from its remains as a Scud-type rocket that government forces have increasingly used in areas under opposition control in the province of Aleppo and in the province of Deir a-Zor to the east, they said.

"The rocket brought down three adjacent buildings in Jabal Badro district. The bodies are being dug up gradually. Some, including children, have died in hospitals," Mohammad Nour said by phone from Aleppo. He said testimony from survivors indicated that another 25 people were still under the rubble.

Abu Mujahed, a member of the Sham News Network opposition group in Aleppo, said although rebels were present in Jabal Badro, the area on the city's eastern edge had little strategic value.

"Jabal Badro has been with the opposition for months and life was normal in the district. Shops were open and people were going to work," Abu Mujahed said. "Using a devastating weapon like a Scud aims to stir anger against the (rebel) Free Syrian Army and undermine its base of popular support."

Syria has been convulsed by an uprising and civil war for almost two years, with an estimated 70,000 people killed, and U.N. investigators say war crimes, including deliberate attacks on civilians, have been committed by both sides.

(Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Amman newsroom; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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