A missile hit a village near Syria’s second city of Aleppo overnight, killing 26 people including six women and eight children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday.
“At midnight on Sunday, 26 people were killed, including six women and eight children, when what appears to have been a surface-to-surface missile struck the village of Kfar Hamra,” said the Observatory.
“Regime forces have taken surrounding orchards and are trying to take the village, and then to break the rebel siege of Nubl and Zahra,” two villages north of Aleppo, the Britain-based watchdog added.
The Syrian army launched in the past few days an offensive in the north of the country with the aim of advancing on Azaz, a rebel stronghold 45 kilometers north of Aleppo.
The rebels control nearly all of the countryside around Aleppo, Syria’s commercial capital before the outbreak in 2011 of an armed uprising in which more than 94,000 people are estimated to have died so far.
Russia blocked a U.N. Security Council declaration on the siege of the Syrian town of Qusayr over the weekend because it amounted to a demand for a unilateral ceasefire by government forces, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich described what is happening in Qusayr as a “counterterrorist operation against militants who have been terrorizing the population" of the Syrian town.