Syrian kindergarten shelled, as Russia steps up bombing
Russian and Syrian regime air raids on civilian areas have increased dramatically in the last 24 hours, according to activists and media in Aleppo and elsewhere.
The intensified strikes have been concentrated on urban areas across the country, with early reports of a large number of civilian deaths.
Syrian activists in the Local Coordination Committee reported that four Syrian children were killed and nine others injured by regime mortar strikes while playing at their kindergarten in Harasta, near Damascus this morning.
Saidr Abbas, Kassem Bakira, Mahrous al-Dahdouh and Jihad Abd al-Fatah Qadadou, all under the age of five, were killed in the attack.
The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR) reports that Russian missiles and 'bunker-buster' parachute bombs killed 17 people in the past 24 hours, including two children in the villages surrounding Kafrnaha, to the west of Aleppo.
SOHR also reports that Russian air-strikes killed 11 people at a market-place in the town of al-Dana, north-west Syria, this morning.
Regime air-strikes has intensified in the villages to the north of Hama, with reports of barrel-bombs and helicopter strikes being used against civilians.
Numerous reports also confirm that regime forces hit urbanised areas in al-Waer, Homs this afternoon, injuring a large number of civilians including children.
The news comes as a video has emerged of Russia's President Vladimir Putin mocking his detractors over the country's involvement in Aleppo and praising Israel for their actions in the occupied Palestinian territories.
"We keep hearing Aleppo, Aleppo, Aleppo," Putin said at the Valdai International Discussion Club last week.
"But what is the issue here? Do we leave the nest of terrorists in place there, or do we squeeze them out, doing our best to minimize and avoid civilian casualties?"
The SOHR reported on the first anniversary of Russia's involvement in the Syrian civil war, that 4,000 out of an estimated 9,000 deaths caused by Russian strikes were civilians.