April 29, 2014 - 14:19 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Four mortar shells exploded on Tuesday, April 29, in central Damascus, killing 14 people and wounding scores, state media said, according to the Associated Press.
The attacks in the Syrian capital come a day after President Bashar Assad announced his candidacy for the June 3 presidential elections, a race he is likely to win amid a raging civil war that initially started as an uprising against his rule.
The official SANA news agency said four shells struck in the capital's Shaghour neighborhood on Tuesday morning. State TV said 14 people were killed in the attacks and 86 were injured.
An official at the Damascus Police Command told the AP that two of the mortar shells hit a school complex. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Rebels have frequently fired mortars into the capital from opposition-held suburbs.
Tuesday's attacks occurred just hours after an international rights organization accused Assad's forces of indiscriminately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure with crude bombs in rebel-held districts of the northern city of Aleppo.
Human Rights Watch said its staff has documented 85 locations in Aleppo's opposition-held districts that government aircraft shelled with barrel bombs — makeshift, shrapnel-packed explosive devices rolled out of helicopters.
The New York-based group identified the locations after interviewing witnesses and analyzing satellite imagery and video and photographic evidence, the report said.
The attacks in Aleppo occurred between Feb. 22 and April 2. The locations, identified by HRW, sustained damage that is "consistent with the detonation of barrel bombs," the report said.
The organization also said it has evidence that government forces fired hundreds of mortar and heavy artillery shells during those 40 days.
Aleppo, Syria's largest city, has been carved up into rebel- and government-held neighborhoods since the opposition launched an offensive in the north in mid-2012.