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Child killed as mortar hits Damascus

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

At least one child was killed and several others were wounded on Tuesday in a mortar attack on a compound housing several schools in central Damascus, a monitoring group and state news agency SANA said.

"A young girl was killed and several other students were injured when mortars fired by terrorists hit a school compound in the Baramkeh district of Damascus," SANA said, without giving the victim's age.

"Shells also landed on two (other) schools... injuring four civilians, including a teacher, and damaging the buildings," SANA added.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog confirmed the report, adding that an unknown number of people were injured.

Earlier, state television reported a mortar attack on the same district, near the headquarters of state news agency SANA, describing it as "a new attack on Syrian media by terrorists".

Elsewhere in Syria, regime troops seized Baba Amr in the central city of Homs, the Observatory said, two weeks after fighting erupted in the flashpoint district.

"Syrian regime forces have recaptured total control of the district of Baba Amr, more than two weeks after rebel fighters had infiltrated the area and seized several neighbourhoods," it said.

The rebel fighters had re-entered Baba Amr after the army launched an all-out assault aimed at crushing the insurgency in besieged insurgent enclaves of central Homs.

This time last year, regime forces overran Baba Amr after a month-long siege that left the neighbourhood in ruins and claimed hundreds of lives.

In recent days, "the army used warplanes, rockets and tank shells to bombard" Baba Amr, the Observatory said, adding that residents who had fled their homes in the district returned to find them "uninhabitable".

On Monday night, the Observatory said at least 13 scorched bodies, including those of five women and four children, were found in the village of Abel, in the countryside near Homs.

The victims had been "slaughtered and burned", the group said, adding that "activists blamed pro-regime militia for committing this massacre".

The group also reported that at least 11 rebel fighters were killed in an army ambush in the majority Kurd northern province of Hasake.

The UN says more than 70,000 people have been killed in Syria since anti-regime protests broke out in March 2011, transforming into an insurgency when the regime unleashed a brutal crackdown.

On Monday alone, at least 122 people were killed in violence across Syria, said the Observatory, among them 41 civilians, 37 soldiers and 44 rebels.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130326/child-killed-mortar-hits-damascus