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Syrian air strikes on Al-Bab kill 50

DAMASCUS, Dec 1, (Agencies): A two-day wave of regime air strikes on a north Syrian town has killed 50 people, a monitor said Sunday, while in Damascus a mortar round struck the French school without causing injuries. On the political front, Syria’s deputy foreign minister insisted that no solution to Syria’s conflict proposed at a Jan 22 peace conference in Geneva would be implemented without President Bashar al- Assad’s approval. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that helicopters on Sunday dropped explosive-laden barrels on the rebel-held town of Al-Bab in northern Syria’s Aleppo province, killing at least 24 people, including two women and four children. Their deaths in a market area of Al- Bab came a day after similar aerial bombardments on the same town that killed at least 26 others. State news agency SANA, reporting on the conflict in the town, said “Syrian army units destroyed the headquarters of an Islamic (rebel) tribunal in Al-Bab in a special operation,” without giving further details. Large swathes of Aleppo province have been under rebel control for more than a year, and have suffered frequent aerial attacks by the regime.

Meanwhile in Damascus, children escaped a mortar attack on the French school, officials said. “A mortar shell landed on the chimney of a classroom around 9:00 am (0700 GMT). No one was hurt but the windows shattered and the walls cracked,” school receptionist Bashir Oneiz told AFP. Aline Farah, a nurse at the Charles de Gaulle school in the upscale central district of Mazzeh, said students were in class when the mortar struck. “It was a miracle that no one was hurt, neither students nor teachers nor employees,” she said. “They were all crying. They were terrified. We took them to an underground shelter,” said Farah. The attack was condemned by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who issued a statement calling it “cowardly”. The school, which is the only foreign school still open in the Syrian capital, has about 220 students, down from a pre-war figure of 900.

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