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Airstrike on Aleppo kills at least 15

– A Syrian government airstrike on a heavily contested neighborhood in the northern city of Aleppo on Saturday killed at least 15 people, including nine children, activists said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the air raid hit Aleppo’s Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood, which rebels seized parts of last weekend after days of heavy fighting.

Aleppo is Syria’s largest city and a key front in the civil war. The Observatory said the death toll from Saturday’s air raid is expected to rise because many others were seriously wounded.

An amateur video of the raid showed people loading the bodies of three children and two men into a pickup truck as women screamed and explosions went off in the distance. Another boy was seen lying dead in the street near a burning truck.

The video appeared genuine and corresponded to other AP reporting.

Both sides are eager to control the strategic district. The neighborhood is on a hill on the northern edge of Aleppo and overlooks much of the city, giving those who control it the ability to pound districts held by the opposing side with mortars and artillery.

The rebels control large swaths of northern Syria and captured their first provincial capital – the city of Raqqa – last month. Meanwhile, in Damascus, mortar rounds hit the residential district of Kafar Souseh on the city’s western outskirts, killing one person and wounding at least 13, the state-run SANA news agency said. The attacks also caused material damage to stores in the district and set several parked vehicles on fire, SANA said.

Opposition fighters control several suburbs of the capital and look increasingly capable of threatening the heart of the city – and Assad’s power.

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