Bomb Hits Elementary School in Ravaged Syrian City

New York Times, April 30, 2014


BEIRUT, Lebanon — A barrel bomb tore into an elementary school in the northern city of Aleppo on Wednesday morning, just as an exhibit of children’s art was about to open, killing at least 18 people, including 10 students, residents and anti-government activists there said, blaming the attack on the government.

Footage of the wrecked school posted online showed pools of blood, rubble and some of the children’s drawings, one of which depicted a warplane firing a missile over the school. “These are terrorists!” a man cried in one video as he held a shock of hair clinging to part of a scalp, as another man in the video cried, “Five years old.”

Another man cursed insurgents who in recent days struck a deal with the government to restore electricity to government-held parts of the city in return for an end to bombardments of rebel-held areas, a part of the deal that apparently was not upheld on Wednesday.

The bombing came a day after mortar shells struck a technical school in government-held Damascus, killing at least 14 people and wounding more than 80. Unicef, the United Nations children’s agency, issued a statement condemning that attack and another, on the Damascus suburb of Adra, which killed three children in a camp for the displaced on Tuesday.

“Every day, across Syria, children who are simply trying to go about their everyday lives are being killed and maimed by indiscriminate attacks on populated areas”, said Maria Calivis, Unicef’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“These attacks appear to be escalating, in complete disregard of all the calls that have been made to stop this insane cycle of violence, and to avoid similar breaches of international law.”

Mohammad Ghannam contributed reporting.