BEIRUT

Middle East

Mortars on Damascus kill 4 after Assad speech

A Syrian man carries a girl on a street covered with dust following a air strike by government forces in the northern city of Aleppo July 15, 2014. (AFP Photo/Baraa al-Halabi)

DAMASCUS: Four people were killed and another 22 wounded by rebel mortars fired into central Damascus Wednesday, just as President Bashar Assad was sworn in for a third term, state news agency SANA said.

The mortars came minutes after Assad's inauguration speech ended.

"Four people were killed and 22 others wounded by mortars launched by terrorists against the business district of Shaalan," in the heart of Damascus, said SANA, using the regime's term for rebels seeking Assad's ouster.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 743 civilians including 197 children and 108 women have been killed in government air raids alone since Assad was re-elected on June 3.

Some 2,400 others were wounded in the raids on rebel-held areas, the Britain-based group added.

Syria's war has killed more than 170,000 people and forced nearly half the population to flee their homes.

 

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