10 Kids Killed as Bombs Drop in Syria
**WARNING: The details in the following story are graphic and may be considered disturbing by some readers.
(CNN) — “May God bring you pain, Bashar.”
The curse is from a woman as she stands over a young child, dressed in purple pants and a matching shirt. Cursing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, she asks why the girl had to die — one of 10 children killed by shelling Sunday on a playground in a Damascus suburb, according to opposition activists.
The woman’s cries are among a host of heartrending moments captured on video from Deir al-Assafir. Posted on YouTube, and quickly spreading via social media, it begins by showing the bodies of two seemingly dead little girls on the ground, then two more bodies in a car, then adults carrying even more limp children. A young girl on the pavement cries uncontrollably before being picked up.
The opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said cluster bombs from Syrian warplanes killed children while they were playing. Rami Abdulrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, however, said it’s not known what happened.
Whatever the explanation, the images represent another sordid chapter in Syria’s bloody civil war.
The violence raged once again Monday, when at least 14 people were killed across the country, the LCC siad.
About 40,000 civilians have been killed since the first protests sprung up about 20 months ago against al-Assad’s government, according to the opposition Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria. Meanwhile, more than 380,000 Syrians have fled the violence and become refugees in countries such as Turkey and Lebanon, the United Nations reports.
The Syrian government routinely refers to its battle against “terrorists,” the term it uses for rebel fighters as well as extremist elements within the country. On Sunday, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported on several specific military operations “in pursuit of al Qaeda terrorists who are perpetrating acts of killing and looting,” in some instances identifying those killed and where they purportedly came from, such as Saudi Arabia, Libya and Palestinian territories.
CNN cannot confirm claims by the government or the opposition due to government restrictions that prevent journalists from reporting freely within Syria.
What started as security forces cracking down on mostly nonviolent protesters, the conflict has spiraled into a civil war between pro-government forces and the rebels, including the Free Syrian Army.
Rebel fighters scored significant victories over the weekend, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Overnight Saturday, rebels stormed Marj al-Sultan airport, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Damascus, and destroyed two helicopters and a number of vehicles. In Daraa province, rebels claimed to have taken over a base near the Jordanian border that once housed the Syrian army’s fourth battalion.
The violence has spilled over, too, into neighboring countries.
Turkey has turned against its former ally, asking its fellow NATO members last week for Patriot missiles to bolster its air defenses due to several deaths in its territory blamed on Syrian forces.
The bloodshed has seeped into Lebanon as well, where there have been deadly clashes between pro- and anti-Syrian factions. And Israel’s army fired warning shots toward Syria earlier this month after a mortar shell hit one of its military posts.
– CNN’s Roba Alhenawi, Karen Smith, Greg Botelho and Holly Yan contributed to this report.