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Syrian missile strike kills 33, many of them children

By Zeina Karam

AssociatedPress

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 19 2013 11:06 p.m. MST

This citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows people searching through the debris of destroyed buildings in the aftermath of a strike by Syrian government forces, in the neighborhood of Jabal Bedro, Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday Feb. 19, 2013. The U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Syria released a 131-page report Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, detailing deepening radicalization by both sides and says fighters on both sides in Syria's civil war have committed atrocities and should be brought to justice. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC)

Associated Press

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BEIRUT — A Syrian missile strike leveled a block of buildings in an impoverished district of Aleppo on Tuesday, killing at least 33 people, almost half of them children, anti-regime activists said.

Many were trapped under the rubble of destroyed houses and piles of concrete and the death toll could still rise further if more bodies are uncovered.

The apparent ground-to-ground missile attack struck a quiet area that has been held by anti-regime fighters for many months, a reminder of how difficult it is for the opposition to defend territory in the face of the regime's far superior weaponry.

In the capital Damascus, state-run news agency SANA said two mortars exploded near one of President Bashar Assad's palaces. It dealt a symbolic blow to the embattled leader, who has tried to maintain an image as the head of a functioning state even as rebels edge closer to the heart of his seat of power.

No casualties were reported and it was unclear whether Assad was in the palace. He has two others in the city.

The attack was the first confirmed strike close to a presidential palace and another sign that the civil war is seeping into areas of the capital once considered safe.

— Associated Press

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