Syrian Ballistic Missile Attacks on Aleppo Killed 141, HRW Says

The Syrian army killed at least 141 people in attacks this month with ballistic missiles on three populated areas in Aleppo and one town nearby, Human Rights Watch said.

The strikes during the week of Feb. 17 killed 71 children and caused “immense” physical destruction, the New York-based human rights group said in an e-mailed statement. There were no signs of opposition military targets in the areas, which would mean that the strikes were “unlawful,” it said.

Syrian rebels have been trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad from power since March 2011. The conflict has killed about 70,000 people, according to United Nations estimates, and crippled the Syrian economy as fighting curbs power, oil and agricultural production across the country.

The extent of the damage in Aleppo and the lack of aircraft in the area at the time “overwhelmingly suggest” that the Syrian army fired the ballistic missiles, Human Rights Watch said. In each site, the attack destroyed 15 to 20 houses and damaged many more, the group said.

In the Ard al-Hamra neighborhood in eastern Aleppo, a missile attack killed at least 78 people, including 38 children, the group said. In Aleppo’s Jabal Badro, 47 people were killed, it said.

“I have visited many attack sites in Syria, but have never seen such destruction,” said Ole Solvang, emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Just when you think things can’t get any worse, the Syrian government finds ways to escalate its killing tactics.”

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