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April 19, 2021

‘Massacre’ alleged as Syria slams outside ‘interference’

As Syria’s foreign minister blasted international calls for President Bashar al-Assad to step down, Syrian forces were shelling civilian neighborhoods and battling rebel forces, opposition leaders said, CNN informs. Foreign Minister Walid Moallem told the U.N. General Assembly that the rhetoric against al-Assad amounts to a “blatant interference in the domestic affairs of Syria, and the unity of its people and its sovereignty.” At least 183 people were killed Monday, including 12 children, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said.The deaths included more than 30 due to aerial shelling, the group said. Forty-two people were killed in Idlib — at least 30 of them “in a massacre” in the town of Seqlein, the LCC said. The group reported that 55 people were killed in and around Damascus. The Free Syrian Army launched an offensive to gain control of the Aleppo military airport on the outskirts of Syria’s largest city, said Abdulla Yasin, spokesman for the rebel fighters. There were fierce clashes with al-Assad’s troops for control of the vital base, he said, adding that FSA troops destroyed four fighter planes and a tank at the airport. Eleven civilians were killed when a regime shell struck a mosque in the Hnano neighborhood, Yasin said. The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said Monday its forces carried out operations against gatherings of “terrorists” in Aleppo and elsewhere, inflicting “heavy losses.” Seventeen citizens were “martyred in terrorists’ shelling” on a village in Homs Sunday, the government said.

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