Five children among 14 killed in shelling on north Syria market

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Fourteen people were killed including at least five children in a rocket attack on a market in the northern Syrian city of al-Bab on Friday, according to emergency responders working in opposition-held areas.

The White Helmets rescue group earlier put the death toll at nine.

It said that figure might rise further as rescue and search operations continued, adding that children were also among at least 30 people wounded in the attack.

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The warring parties in Syria’s 11-year conflict have carved up the north into a patchwork of zones of control.

Al-Bab falls within the areas of Aleppo province held by Turkish-backed fighters, but other parts are held by Syrian government troops backed by Russia.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), spearheaded by Kurdish groups who have opened a dialogue with the Damascus-based government, also control parts of the north and northeast.

The head of the SDF’s media center, Farhad Shami, said the group had nothing to do with Friday’s attack.

Activists in al-Bab had been planning a protest after midday prayers on Friday to denounce comments by Turkey calling for reconciliation between the Syrian government and the opposition.

In a statement distributed to media after Friday’s attack, the activists cancelled the demonstration over fears of further violence.

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