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Syrian children killed in west Aleppo school attack

Aleppo has become a scene of abject suffering and wanton destruction [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 October, 2016

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State media says rebel forces have hit a school in government-controlled west Aleppo, just a day after dozens of children were killed in airstrikes on a school in Idlib.

At least six children were killed and 15 injured in rebel rocket attacks in the government-held west of Aleppo city on Thursday, just a day after deadly airstrikes on a school complex in Idlib left 35 people, including 22 children dead. 

The rocket fire in Aleppo hit two neighbourhoods in the west of the city, with one of the attacks striking a school.

"Three children were killed and 14 students were injured in a terrorist rocket attack on the national school in the Shahba neighbourhood of Aleppo," state news agency SANA reported.

It added that the attack also damaged the school.

A second rocket attack hit a house in the Hamdaniyeh neighbourhood, killing three brothers and injuring a fourth, SANA said.

The two neighbourhoods are in the west of the city, which has been roughly divided since mid-2012, when rebels seized its eastern half.

Syrian rebels regularly target west Aleppo with airstrikes, with civilian deaths as a result of such strikes not uncommon. Recently, on October 13 Syrian state media reported that four people had been killed in rebel shelling of a school in the Sulemaniyeh district of west Aleppo.

Since late September Syrian regime forces backed by Russia have embarked on an intense aerial and ground campaign aimed at recapturing east Aleppo. Hundreds of people have been killed in attacks that have also targeted hospitals, and water infrastructures in the area. 

According to Save the Children more than 4,200 schools in Syria have been damaged, destroyed, militarised and used as detention centres, or been converted into shelters for internally displaced in near six years of conflict. In September 2015 the humanitarian organisation reported that half of all attacks on schools worldwide between 2011 and 2015 had occurred in Syria.

On Wednesday the UN children's agency UNICEF said 22 children had been killed along with six teachers in airstrikes on a school in rebel-held Idlib province.

The strikes, carried out by either Russian or Syrian warplanes according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, hit the village of Hass.

Moscow denied any involvement in the raids.

The British-based Observatory, which has a network of sources in Syria, gave a toll of 36 dead, among them 15 children and four teachers.

The incident prompted outrage from UNICEF director Anthony Lake.

"This is a tragedy. It is an outrage. And if deliberate, it is a war crime," he said, adding that the school complex had been hit repeatedly.

Read also: 'Stop draining the blood of Syrians,' UN official pleads

Outside Damascus meanwhile, at least eight people were killed on Thursday in government shelling on Douma in the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta region, the Observatory said.

Douma is regularly targeted by government fire, and in recent months regime forces have waged an offensive in the area, which has also been under siege since 2013.

More than 300,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests.

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