Mortar strike on Damascus school kills at least 14

Thomson Reuters Foundation, April 29, 2014

BEIRUT, April 29 (Reuters) – Two mortar shells struck a school complex in central Damascus on Tuesday, killing at least 14 people and wounding dozens, state media and a monitoring group said.

The attack in the mainly Shi’ite Muslim district of Shaghour came a day after President Bashar al-Assad nominated himself to stand for re-election, in defiance of calls for him to step aside and allow a political solution to Syria’s civil war.

State news agency SANA described the Badr el-Din Hussani complex which was hit as a religious jurisprudence college. Residents said it is also attended by primary and secondary school students.

SANA said 14 people were killed and 86 wounded but the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the violence in Syria, put the death count at 17.

Assad’s forces have pushed back the mainly Sunni Muslim rebels from many of their strongholds around the capital, but residents say the insurgents have stepped up rocket and mortar attacks against the heart of the city in recent weeks. (Reporting by Dominic Evans; Editing by Andrew Heavens)