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14 killed in rebel-shelling of Syria's Aleppo

Syrian oppositions attacking IS in Aleppo [Huseyin Nasir/Anadolu Agency/Getty]

Date of publication: 20 September, 2015

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At least 14 civilians, including seven children, were killed when rebels shelled Aleppo, state media reported on Sunday, as 75 US-trained rebels enter Syria from Turkey.

Syria's state news agency says at least 14 civilians, including seven children, were killed when rebels shelled a government-controlled district in the northern city of Aleppo. 

The state news agency said the shelling Sunday took place in al-Midan neighbourhood, once a centre for the city's thriving Armenian community. 

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported that 14 were killed in the shelling, which it said took place early Sunday from a nearby rebel-controlled area.

The group said government air raids on an adjacent neighbourhood killed a child. The Observatory relies on a network of activists on the ground.

Aleppo, once the commercial centre of Syria, has been divided since 2012, with government forces controlling much of western Aleppo and rebel groups in control of the east.

US trained Syrian rebels

Meanwhile, seventy five Syrian rebels trained by the United States and its allies to fight Islamic State have entered northern Syria since Friday, the Observatory said on Sunday.  

Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Observatory, said the rebels had crossed into Syria from Turkey with 12 vehicles equipped with machine guns. 

A top US  general told Congress on Wednesday that only four or five Syrian rebels trained under the programme aimed at fighting Islamic State were still fighting in Syria.

The US military began training in May for up to 5,400 fighters a year, in what was seen as a test of President Barack Obama's strategy of having local partners combat Islamic State militants and keep US  troops off the front lines.

Local ceasefire
 

Also on Sunday, Syria's factions have agreed local ceasefires in two Shia villages in the north west and a town near the Lebanese border, a group monitoring the war and the al-Manar TV station reported.

It will be the third time local ceasefires have been agreed in those areas since August, and follows a renewed offensive by insurgents against the two villages, al-Fuah and Kafraya, since Friday. Both previous ceasefires collapsed.

The ceasefire was due to begin at 12 noon (0900 GMT), the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and al-Manar reported.

Al-Fuah and Kafraya are being defended by pro-government militia supported by the Lebanese group Hizbollah.

     At least 106 people had been killed in and around al-Fuah and Kafraya since Friday.

The border town included in the ceasefire, Zabadani has meanwhile been targeted in a weeks-long offensive by the Syrian army and Hizbollah. They are seeking to capture it from rebels.

Rebels said the town of Madaya, next to Zabadani which is also included in the ceasefire and where thousands of civilians have taken shelter, had witnessed heavy shelling overnight by the army in apparent retaliation against the offensive on the two villages. 

The Observatory, which tracks the war via a network of sources on the ground, said at least 106 people had been killed in and around al-Fuah and Kafraya since Friday.

On the insurgents' side, the dead included at least 30 foreign fighters including jihadists from the Gulf, north Africa, central Asia and members of the Turkistan Islamic Party, said the Observatory.

The dead on the other side included at least 40 militiamen and seven civilians, it said.

The Observatory said the insurgents including the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front had seized two positions on the outskirts of al-Fuah.

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