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Syria: Concern mounts over rising child death toll
Tuesday July 16, 2013 6:05 PM, IINA

The UN's special envoy on children in war was in Syria for talks yesterday, as concern mounts over the rising child death toll in the bloody two-year conflict.

Six children were among 29 people killed in a devastating army bombardment of five villages in the northwest as residents prepared to break the daytime fast during the holy month of Ramadan, a watchdog reported on Monday.

Leila Zerrougui, the UN secretary general's special representative on children and armed conflict, will spend three days in Syria, the UN said.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog, more than 100,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March 2011, more than 5,000 of them children under the age of 16.

The deadliest of Sunday's air and artillery bombardments of villages in the northwestern province of Idlib struck Maghara, where 13 people were killed, the Observatory said.

Another six people were killed in the village of Al-Bara, four in Basamis, three in Kfar Nabl in an air strike, and three in Iblin, according to the Britain-based group, which relies on a network of activists, lawyers and doctors on the ground across Syria.

The dead included at least eight women as well as the six children, it added. Video footage posted online by activists showed harrowing scenes of death and destruction in Maghara, with survivors screaming as the camera panned over the rubble.

"God is great. Where are our Muslim brothers? Where are our Arab brothers?" the activist says as he films residents trying to dig out people trapped beneath the wreckage of their homes.

"This is the iftar of the Muslims in Jabal Zawiya," he said, referring to the hill district where the village lies.

"A massacre in the village of Maghara," he adds, as residents fill buckets and bowls with water to put out fires.

A second video showed smoke billowing over the village and residents lifting a dust-covered older man, his stomach torn open, onto a flat-bed truck.

Another man lay dead on the ground, his body and clothes covered in grey dust flecked with blood, his mouth open, his arm curled upwards and his hand lying on his chest.

The Observatory also reported that at least 13 people were killed in Damascus province on Sunday night.

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