5 children among 14 dead in northern Syria rocket attack
Cairo, Aug 19 (EFE).- Fourteen people, including at least five children, were killed and dozens injured in a rocket attack allegedly by government forces in northern Syria on Friday, an opposition war monitoring group said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the artillery shelling tore through a popular marketplace and residential neighborhoods in the city of al-Bab controlled by Turkey and Ankara-backed rebels.
The observatory said the Syrian “regime forces” carried out the attack.
The NGO, headquartered in the United Kingdom with a wide network of collaborators on the ground in Syria, said it was “the most horrific massacre of those committed by regime forces in months.”
The White Helmets, a rescue group working in parts of Syria held by armed opposition factions, had a lower death toll.
The group tweeted that there are nine dead and 28 wounded “as the initial death toll of the bloody massacre committed by terrorist attacks.”
It blamed the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) backed by the United States and presided over by Kurdish rebels.
In a statement, SDF spokesperson Farhad Shami denied the allegation.
“We believe that these strikes target(ing) the al-Bab city, were conducted by the parties who have been trying recently to prevent the people in the occupied areas from expressing their rage regarding the recent statements of the Turkish foreign minister,” Shami said.
He referred to the statements of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu made a week ago advocating reconciliation with the Syrian government.
The attack on the al-Bab city took place days after a Turkish airstrike killed at least 10 people, including Syrian troops and US-backed Kurdish fighters
The monitor said the attack on Friday was “in response to the Turkish” airstrikes.
Turkey has been controlling some territories in the north of Syria after it launched three major cross-border operations in 2016.
Al-Bab falls in the Aleppo province held by Turkish-backed rebels.
The city has been under the control of pro-Ankara factions and their soldiers since 2016. Explosions and attacks are frequent in the area.
Syrian government troops backed by Russia also control some parts.
The SDF, backed by the United States and presided over by Kurdish rebels, controls large areas of the north and northeast. EFE