Syria School Attack Said to Kill Dozens Amid Heavy Fighting
Syrian forces continued to press an intense counteroffensive against rebels in the Damascus suburbs on Tuesday, as the government blamed rebels for a mortar attack that hit a school, and the United Nations warned that the increasingly dangerous situation in the country was making it hard to provide enough food to displaced Syrians.
SANA, the state news agency, reported that 29 people at the school, including one teacher and numerous children, were killed by a mortar shell fired by “terrorists,” its term for its opponents, in Bteeha, a small town north of Damascus on the road to the central city of Homs. Antigovernment activist groups confirmed the attack but said only nine people were killed at the school, at the Wafideen refugee camp. The road to Homs and on to the commercial hub of Aleppo has been strongly contested in recent fighting.
The Local Coordinating Committees, a network of rebel groups, reported the mortar attack without comment, implying that it was carried out by the government. But an activist reached in Damascus said it was unclear who had fired the shell.