A Syrian girl carries a bag through a street in the Salaheddine neighbourhood of Aleppo on February 16, 2013
A Syrian girl carries a bag through a street in the Salaheddine neighbourhood of Aleppo on February 16, 2013. Six children were among at least 19 people killed in an apparent surface-to-surface missile strike on the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, a monitoring group said on Tuesday. © Bulent Kilic - AFP
A Syrian girl carries a bag through a street in the Salaheddine neighbourhood of Aleppo on February 16, 2013
AFP
Last updated: February 19, 2013

Syrian children among at least 19 dead in Aleppo missile strike

Fourteen children and five women were among at least 31 people killed in an apparent surface-to-surface missile strike on a residential area of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, a monitoring group said on Tuesday.

"It is likely that a surface-to-surface missile strike" hit Jabal Badro on the edge of Aleppo late on Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said

Fourteen children aged under 16 years and five women were among the dead, and the "toll is likely to rise as bodies are being retrieved from under the rubble," the Britain-based Observatory said, adding that people were critically injured.

There were no planes overhead when the missile hit, according to residents cited by the Observatory, and the extent of the destruction indicated a surface-to-surface missile was likely used, director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Abu Hisham, an Aleppo-based citizen journalist who spoke to AFP via the Internet, said "housing in the district was informally built. It took one surface-to-surface rocket to destroy an entire neighbourhood."

Video footage and photographs shot by activists in Aleppo, scene of fierce fighting since the army launched an all-out assault to stop a rebel advance on Syria's second city on July 20, showed massive destruction in Jabal Badro.

Amateur video posted online by the anti-regime Aleppo Media Centre showed crowds of people gathering around hills of rubble and a bulldozer shovelling the debris as residents searched for relatives.

"I swear to God! I rescued a baby aged just two months from the rubble!" cried an unidentified man interviewed by an amateur cameraman.

AFP could not authenticate the video.

Activists have reported the army's use of surface-to-surface missiles on various targets in northern Syria since late 2012.

A security source in Damascus told AFP late last year that such missiles were a Syrian-made version of the Scud, and NATO has since reported ballistic missiles being used in Syria.

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