Shelling reportedly hits school in Damascus, killing at least nine

BEIRUT -- Shelling struck a school outside Damascus, pro-government Syrian media reported Tuesday, with an opposition group saying that at least eight students and a teacher were killed.

The accounts from pro-regime television stations variously described the shelling as from a mortar or a howitzer, and blamed “terrorists” or “armed groups,” the labels used to describe rebels seeking to overthrow the government of President Bashar Assad.

Syrian state television labeled the attack a “horrific crime,” reported Agence France-Presse, the French news agency.


A pro-opposition organization, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported that nine students and one teacher were killed. The group did not say which side fired the deadly projectile.

Throughout the Syrian conflict, each side has generally blamed the other for the killing of civilians.

The projectile struck the Batiha school, which is situated in the Wafideen refugee camp northeast of the capital. The camp is home to people displaced from the Golan Heights by the Israeli occupation of the disputed territory.

The suburbs of Damascus have been the scene of heavy clashes in recent days as government forces fight to dislodge guerrilla fighters from their strongholds.

In a separate incident, state-run media reported that “an armed terrorist group” assassinated a journalist, Naji Assad, in front of his home in the capital’s Tadamon district “while he was heading to his work at the Tishreen newspaper,” a pro-government publication.

Each side in the conflict has been accused of targeting journalists and media workers.

Opposition groups say more than 40,000 people, mostly civilians, have died in the more than 20-month conflict. The government has not provided casualty figures.


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