Syria: Activists say ten children in village were killed by cluster bombs

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A SYRIAN government air strike on a rebel-held village near Damascus killed ten children on Sunday as they played outdoors, opposition activists said, and video footage showed residents collecting young bodies torn by shrapnel.

The children went out after a lull in fighting in Deir al-Asafir, a village eight miles east of Damascus, when fighter jets struck.

Video footage taken by activists showed the bodies of two young girls on the street in the village, with wounds to their neck and head. A sobbing woman picked one of the girls up and hugged her lifeless body.

Another two dead boys, hit in the head and face, were shown on the backseat of a car. Men picked up the bodies of two other children while a larger body lay next to the front wheel of a vehicle.

“None of those killed were older than 15 years old. There are two women among 15 people wounded, mostly hit as they were inside the courtyards of their houses,” said Abu Kassem, an activist in the village, said.

“There were no fighters inside Deir al-Asafir when the bombing occurred. They operate on the outskirts. This was indiscriminate bombing,” he said.

Abu Kassem said the munitions dropped by the fighter jets were cluster bombs. Other footage showed a row of what appeared to be unexploded small bombs.

“We collected 70 of these so far,” one man said.

Earlier this month, the UN political affairs chief told the security council of credible reports that the Syrian military has used cluster bombs in fighting the 20-month revolt against President Assad.

The Syrian army has denied a Human Rights Watch report issued in October that Mr Assad’s forces have used cluster bombs, saying it did not possess such weapons.