Syrian Rocket Fire Hits Funeral Outside Damascus, Killing 16 Civilians

Rockets, Artillery Shells Hit Cemetery

by Jason Ditz, February 19, 2017

At least 16 civilians were killed and a number of others wounded over the weekend when Syrian military forces fired rockets and artillery at the outskirts of Qabun, a rebel-held district just northeast of the capital city of Damascus, hitting an in-progress funeral.

It is unclear why the cemetery would be targeted, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported nine people killed immediately in the attack, and a number of critically wounded people have succumbed to their injuries since then.

The Syrian military has increasingly been sweeping up rebel-held suburbs around Damascus, and seems to be always contesting new areas. In many cases, this results in a negotiated settlement which involves a rebel evacuation from the area.

The Syrian military offered no statement on the incident, and it is unknown whether this is a serious effort at an offensive against Qabun, aiming to take over the territory, or just the usual attacks against rebel territory meant to keep them from launching offensives of their own.

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