Syrian government missile kills 18 civilians in Aleppo

It came as a Spanish journalism association said that three Spanish freelance journalists had gone missing in the northern city.

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BEIRUT // A missile fired by Syrian forces killed at least 18 civilians on Tuesday in a residential neighbourhood of the old quarter of Aleppo, a monitoring group said.

It came as a Spanish journalism association said that three Spanish freelance journalists had gone missing in the northern city, which has been carved up between government and rebel held neighbourhoods since 2012.

The Spanish Federation of Journalists’ Association identified the men as Antonio Pampliega, Jose Manuel Lopez and Angel Sastre, and said that they had not been heard from for several days.

Meanwhile, Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said that the missile fired by Syrian forces had struck people while they were still inside their homes in the district of Maghayir.

“It killed 18 civilians, including one child, and wounded dozens of others,” said Mr Abdel Rahman. “There are many people still stuck in the rubble, and ambulances are going back and forth transporting people.”

Photos published by the Britain-based monitoring group showed crumbling walls surrounded by a sea of dusty cinderblocks.

Groups of men, some wearing the white helmets of civil defence volunteers, trudged through the rubble.

More than 35 homes were destroyed, the Observatory said.

Once Syria’s commercial centre, Aleppo has suffered devastating damage as government forces in the west of the city and rebel groups in the east try to dislodge each other.

The Observatory said that running water had been restored in Aleppo on Tuesday after supplies had been cut off for more than three weeks. It was apparently restored after an understanding between the regime and Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, Jabhat Al Nusra.

Al Nusra, which controls the pumping station in a rebel-held district, had cut off supplies to pressure the government to restore electricity to areas under its control.

The rebels turned the water back on after the regime caved in and restored electricity supplies, the Observatory said.

* Agence France-Presse and Associated Press