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Barrel bomb attack kills 11 children in Syria: monitor

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Beirut: Eleven children were killed today in a barrel bomb attack carried out by government forces on a rebel-held neighbourhood of Syria‘s Aleppo city, a monitor said.

“Fifteen civilians, among them 11 children, were killed in a barrel bomb attack on the Bab al-Nayrab neighbourhood” in the south of Aleppo city, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said.

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The group also reported eight civilians, including two children, were killed on Thursday in rebel fire on the government-held west of the city.

An AFP journalist in Bab al-Nayrab saw rescue workers and civilians digging through the rubble of collapsed buildings.

One man carried out the lifeless body of a baby no bigger than his forearm. Its eyes were closed and its body was white with dust except for speckles and smears of blood.

Elsewhere, a civil defence worker protected the face of another dead child as his colleagues scraped away the rubble encasing the rest of the child’s body.

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Syria’s regime has been accused of regularly using barrel bombs — crude, explosive devices — on rebel-held areas that are home to civilians, and other parties to the conflict are not known to have used the weapons.

President Bashar al-Assad and his government deny using barrel bombs.

Once Syria’s economic powerhouse, Aleppo city has been ravaged by the conflict that began with anti-government protests in March 2011.

The city has been roughly divided between rebel control in the east and government control in the west since mid-2012, with each side bombarding the other and causing civilian casualties.

More than 290,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began, according to the Observatory.