Syria rebel fire on govt areas of Aleppo kills 50 in 2 days

June 02, 2014 - 2:23:16 pm

BEIRUT: At least 50 people, including nine children, were killed in two days of rebel mortar and rocket fire on regime-held areas of Aleppo in northern Syria, a monitoring group said Monday.

The latest toll from the main northern city comes the day before a presidential election expected to keep incumbent Bashar al-Assad in power.

"At least 50 people, including nine children, were killed in mortar and rocket fire on regime-held areas of Aleppo on Saturday and Sunday," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The bombardments killed 23 people on Saturday and another 27 on Sunday.

The Britain-based monitoring group said the casualties on Saturday and Sunday came after 230 people had been killed in two months of rebel bombardments of areas of Aleppo controlled by the government.

Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said "the escalation by rebels against regime-held areas is linked to the imminent presidential election" that is expected keep Assad in power.

The opposition has branded the vote, that will only be held in regime-held areas, as a "farce".

The Observatory has also reported the killing of some 2,000 civilians, among them more than 500 children, in regime airstrikes on rebel-held areas of Aleppo since January.

Once Syria's commercial capital, Aleppo has been divided between pro and anti-regime areas ever since a major rebel offensive in July 2012.

Abdel Rahman said: "Targeting civilians is a war crime and the fact that the regime uses barrel bombs to target civilians in rebel areas does not justify targeting civilians in regime areas."

Syria's war has killed more than 162,000 people in three years and forced nearly half the population to flee their homes. (AFP)

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