Clashes continue as Amnesty slams Syria
ALEPPO / BEIRUT
Free Syrian Army fighters take cover as they exchange fire with regime forces in the Salaheddin neighborhood of Syria’s northern city of Aleppo.The Syrian army has recaptured Christian areas in the city of Aleppo after heavy fighting with rebels, as Amnesty International says artillery and mortar fire and airstrikes by government forces in the city are killing mostly civilians, including children.
Air and artillery strikes against residential neighborhoods are indiscriminate and seriously endanger civilians, a new Amnesty report released yesterday said. Government troops and opposition forces have been fighting in Aleppo for a month, since rebels took over several neighborhoods.
Among the dead are 10 members of one family, seven of them children, the Amnesty report said. Their home was totally destroyed in two airstrikes on Aug. 6. It said bodies, mostly those of young men, most often handcuffed and shot in the head, have frequently been found near the Air Force Intelligence building, which is a government-controlled area.
Aleppo residents reported heavy exchanges in the heart of the city during the army’s offensive to recapture the three neighborhoods seized by the rebels over the weekend.
“If our house weren’t built like a fortress, we’d all be dead. The entrance is very badly damaged. We couldn’t sleep all night,” said a resident of Telal, which the army seized Aug. 22 along with Jdeideh and Sulamaniyeh.
Troops and tanks also swept into a restive town near Damascus. Artillery and helicopters attacked the town of Daraya for 24 hours, killing 15 people and wounding 150, before soldiers moved in and raided houses, opposition sources said. Other activists said the army was also bombarding parts of the town from Qasioun, a mountain overlooking Damascus, and from a Republican Guard barracks near a hilltop presidential palace. More than 60 were killed across Syria, according to the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.