Newspaper article International New York Times

Syrian Bus Shelling Caps Merciless Year ; Siege of Aleppo Kills 10 as Government Presses Intense Assault in North

Newspaper article International New York Times

Syrian Bus Shelling Caps Merciless Year ; Siege of Aleppo Kills 10 as Government Presses Intense Assault in North

Article excerpt

The explosion in Aleppo, which antigovernment activists said had killed at least 10 people, came amid two weeks of fierce government bombardment.

Half obscured by smoke and dust, a man in a video brandished a milk crate loaded with what he said were fragments of human flesh: the remains of people torn apart when a shell hit a city bus in Aleppo in northern Syria, in an attack on civilian targets by the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

"Look, look, Bashar, they are humans, they are civilians," the man shouted as others searched for more remains among the oranges stacked in a neat pyramid on a nearby cart -- a grim end to a year of civil war in which the number of Syrian refugees quintupled and the death toll doubled.

The explosion in the Tariq al-Bab area of Aleppo on Tuesday, which antigovernment activists said had killed at least 10 people, occurred not far from a market that was hit on Saturday. A second shell landed nearby as people tried to take the victims to hospitals, the activists said.

The international aid group Doctors Without Borders, which provides medical assistance in the rebel-held northern Syria, said Tuesday that its contacts at 10 local hospitals had counted more than 540 people killed and more than 3,000 wounded in Aleppo during two weeks of intense government bombardment that has targeted schools, residential buildings, hospitals, markets and bus stations.

Syrian warplanes carried out airstrikes near the Lebanese border on Wednesday, wounding at least 10 Syrians who were taken to a hospital in a nearby Lebanese town, Beirut's state-run National News Agency said, according to The Associated Press. The A.P. quoted the agency as saying that the bombing hit near Arsal, Lebanon, where thousands of Syrians have fled to escape their country's civil war over the past months.

Government forces began to escalate their siege of Aleppo in mid- December with a combination of conventional bombs, missiles, and improvised mixes of explosives and shrapnel stuffed into barrels and dropped by helicopter gunships. These so-called barrel bombs are believed to be responsible for many of the recent deaths in the city, which has been a focal point of the conflict since the summer of 2012. …

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