DAMASCUS: Mortar rounds fired on schools in the Syrian capital on Tuesday killed a child and wounded more than 40 people, among them more children, state media said.
Rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad hold some territory on the outskirts of Damascus from which they have regularly launched mortar and rocket attacks targeting the downtown area.
"A child was killed and 41 others, most of them children, were injured by mortar rounds fired by terrorists at schools in Bab Touma and Al-Duwaila in Damascus," the official SANA news agency reported.
State media and the Syrian regime use the term "terrorists" to refer to those who have been seeking to topple Assad since the conflict broke out in March 2011.
Citing a police source, SANA said one attack hit a school in Bab Touma, killing one child and wounding 36, and a second hit a cluster of schools near a church in Al-Duwaila, injuring five people.
The mortar attacks were also reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, which gave the same casualty figures.
The rebel attacks on central Damascus have frequently struck upscale neighbourhoods housing embassies and security facilities as well as the Old City, killing civilians.
Elsewhere, the Observatory and state media reported that nine people, including a player with Syria's youth football team, Tarek Ghrair, were killed late Monday in mortar fire on the central city of Homs.
"Nine people, including a footballer in Syria's youth team, were killed in mortar fire on the Hamra and Karam al-Shami neighbourhoods," the Observatory said.
The districts are under government control, and SANA reported that Ghrair had been killed by a "terrorist mortar round".
In the eastern province of Deir al-Zor, the Observatory said 20 fighters from Islamist brigades and the Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front were killed in clashes with the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria.
The group said the 20 were killed in fighting for the town of Sawar in the north of the province, which ISIS has seized.
Al-Nusra and other opposition groups have been fighting against ISIS across rebel-held provinces since the beginning of the year, angered by their abuses of civilians and other rebels.
The fighting has killed hundreds and forced ISIS to withdraw from parts of Aleppo and Idlib provinces, though it has consolidated its control in other areas, including the capital of Raqqa province.