War burns in Syria 0:58

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AP February 02, 2014

SYRIAN military helicopters have dropped barrels packed with explosives in the government’s latest air raids on rebel-held areas of the northern city of Aleppo, killing at least 23 people including a family trapped in a burning car, activists said.

In neighbouring Lebanon, a car bomb blew up near a gas station in a Shiite town, killing at least three people, in the latest attack linked to the war in neighbouring Syria.

Footage on al-Manar television, associated with the Shiite group Hezbollah, showed a bright orange blaze as black silhouettes of people ran by the gas station in the north-eastern town of Hermel that lies near the Syrian border. Blasts could be heard in the background. The Lebanese Red Cross said another 18 people were wounded. The organisation initially reported that four people were killed, but later revised the number downwards.

The large blast occurred near a school for impoverished and orphaned children. None were injured, officials said.

It was the latest in a series of attacks targeting Lebanon’s Shiite community, as Syria’s violence causes neighbouring Lebanon’s sectarian tensions to escalate into outright violence.

Sunni militant groups have claimed responsibility for a relentless series of attacks on Shiite parts of Lebanon, including a bomb that exploded in Hermel in late January. They say it is in retaliation for the Shiite Hezbollah group sending its fighters into Syria’s civil war to support forces of President Bashar Assad.

Lebanon’s Sunni community has also been hit, most notably by a deadly double car bombing outside Sunni mosques in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli in August.

In Aleppo, the raids with barrel bombs, as the crude weapons are known, have flattened residential buildings, forcing defenders to flee and allowing government troops to advance.

The latest attacks killed 13 people in the al-Bab area of Aleppo, Hassoun Abu Faisal of the Aleppo Media Center said via Skype. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights corroborated the information.

The blasts badly damaged buildings and caused a fuel tanker to explode, setting nearby vehicles alight, including one carrying a family of eight who were trying to flee the area as they heard the approaching helicopters, said Abu Faisal.

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Aljazeera News

Fighting continues as Syria talks wind up

Regime forces accused of using barrel bombs on Aleppo’s rebel-held areas, after Geneva summit ends without breakthrough.

Last updated: 02 Feb 2014 03:43
Syrian opposition activists say military helicopters have dropped barrels packed with explosives in the government’s latest air raids on rebel-held areas of the northern city of Aleppo, killing at least 23 people including a family trapped in a burning car.In Aleppo, the raids with barrel bombs, as the crude weapons are known, have flattened residential buildings, forcing defenders to flee and allowing government troops to advance, the activists say.

Saturday’s attacks killed 13 people in the al-Bab area of Aleppo, Hassoun Abu Faisal of the Aleppo Media Centre said via Skype.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights corroborated the information.

The blasts badly damaged buildings and caused a fuel tanker to explode, setting nearby vehicles alight, including one carrying a family of eight who were trying to flee the area as they heard the approaching helicopters, Abu Faisal said.

A video showed men dragging a charred victim out of a smashed building.

“You want a political solution? Here is a political solution!” shouted one man as he pointed at two charred bodies on the rubble-strewn ground.

The man was referring to last week’s conference in Switzerland between government officials and opposition activists seeking to resolve Syria’s war, which began as a peaceful uprising in March 2011 against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Geneva summit did not produce any tangible results, but is likely to lead to backdoor negotiations.

More bombings

Other barrel bombings in Aleppo killed three people near a mosque and another seven people in the Ansari quarter, activists said.

Ansari is frequently hit. On Friday, activists uploaded a video of what they said was a child being pulled alive from the rubble after shelling there.

Scenes of civilians and firefighters pulling out dusty, bloodied bodies from under the rubble have become more frequent as the bombing continues.

The footage appeared authentic and reflected Associated Press reporting of the event.

The barrel bombing in Aleppo comes as Syrian government forces try retake the city, which has been divided into government- and opposition-held areas since mid-2012.

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