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Syria children among 19 killed in Aleppo missile strike: NGO

A child stands on the remnants of a destroyed military vehicle in front of a damaged building in Al Inzarat district in Aleppo February 17, 2013.

Hamid Khatib/REUTERS

Six children were among at least 19 people killed in an apparent surface-to-surface missile strike on the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, a monitoring group said on Tuesday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said "it is likely a surface-to-surface missile strike" had been fired at Jabal Badro on the edge of Aleppo city late on Monday.

Six children and three women were among at least 19 people killed and "the death toll is likely to rise as bodies are being rescued from under the rubble," the Britain-based Observatory said.

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There were no planes overhead when the missile hit Jabal Badro, according to residents cited by the Observatory, and the extent of the destruction indicated a surface-to-surface missile was likely used to strike the area, watchdog director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

"Housing in the district was informally built. It took one surface-to-surface rocket to destroy an entire neighbourhood," said Abu Hisham, an Aleppo-based citizen journalist who spoke to AFP via the Internet.

Footage and photographs shot by activists in Aleppo, scene of fierce fighting since the army launched an all-out assault to stop a rebel advance on Syria's second city on July 20, showed massive destruction in Jabal Badro.

Amateur video posted online by the anti-regime Aleppo Media Centre a day after the strike showed crowds of people gathering around hills of rubble in Jabal Badro and a bulldozer shovelling the debris as residents searched for their relatives.

"I swear to God! I rescued a baby aged just two months from the rubble!" cried an unidentified man interviewed by an amateur cameraman in Jabal Badro.

AFP could not authenticate the video.

Activists have reported the army's use of surface-to-surface missiles on various targets in northern Syria since late 2012.

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Late last year, a security source in Damascus told AFP such missiles were a Syrian-made version of Scud missiles, while NATO has since reported the use of ballistic missiles in Syria.

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