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Syrian regime targets funeral in rebel-held district Open in fullscreen

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Syrian regime targets funeral in rebel-held district

The shelling targeted a cemetery [AFP]

Date of publication: 19 February, 2017

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At least nine people were killed on Saturday when government forces launched a barrage of rockets that hit a funeral on the edges of the Syrian capital, a monitor said

At least nine people were killed on Saturday when government forces launched a barrage of rockets that hit a funeral on the edges of the Syrian capital, a monitor said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said "seven rockets and several shells hit areas on the edges of Qabun", a northeastern district of Damascus held by rebels.

"The shelling targeted a cemetery while someone was being buried there," said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

"The toll may increase because there are about 15 people wounded, some of them in critical condition," he said.

Rebels and regime forces reached a local truce deal in Qabun in 2014, but violence steadily escalated in the neighbourhood which is now bombarded regularly.

Also on Saturday, three civilians were killed in government airstrikes on Waer, the last opposition-held district of the central city of Homs.

The Observatory said two young brothers were among the dead.

The toll brought to 30, including 10 children, the total number of people killed in an "escalating air campaign and clashes in Waer", Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Homs was dubbed the "capital of the revolution" after vast demonstrations there early in Syria's anti-regime uprising.

But after months of siege and bombardment, rebels agreed to quit the city in a 2014 evacuation deal with the government.

Another local deal was struck specifically for Waer in December 2015, and hundreds of rebels have left the neighbourhood.

The Syrian conflict began when the Baath regime, in power since 1963 and led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded with military force to peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings, triggering an armed rebellion fueled by mass defections from the Syrian army.

According to independent monitors, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies, and millions have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria.

The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians have led to war crimes investigations.

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