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Thursday, June 18, 2015, Ashar 4, 1422 BS, Shaban 30, 1436 Hijr

'Elephant rockets' kill 36 in Damascus suburb
Published : Thursday, 18 June, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 11
DAMASCUS , June 17 : The Syrian government has used so-called elephant rockets in an attack on the Damascus suburb of Douma, killing at least 36 people, including children, according to activists.
The rockets, named after the distinctive noise they make when they are launched, are improvised weapons made by attaching rocket motors to much larger bombs.
This greatly increases their destructive effect, while accuracy is lost and range limited.
On Wednesday, activists accused the government of using surface-to-surface missiles as clashes continued between opposition fighters and government forces.
In video posted online of Tuesday's attack, residents were seen scrambling to rescue a brother and sister trapped after a building was destroyed.
There were shouts of joy as the girl was pulled alive from the rubble while her brother could still be heard calling for help.
More than 60 people, including many children, were injured in the bombardment, activists said.
Improvised arsenal
The rebel stronghold of Douma has been under attack by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad for the last three years.
Elephant rockets are part of an improvised arsenal used by government forces, who have already been condemned for using barrel bombs and chemical weapons on civilians.
Speaking in the US on Tuesday, John Kerry, secretary of state, said he was confident Assad's government was responsible for a "preponderance" of chemical attacks against his own people.
"I think everybody's patience is wearing thin with respect to the extraordinary depravity of the weaponry and mechanisms for delivery which Assad has used against his own people," he said,
Kerry said he had discussed Syria's use of chemical weapons with Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister, by phone and was confident Lavrov would raise it with Assad, who agreed in 2013 under a US-Russia brokered deal to dismantle the country's chemical weapons arsenal. ?AL JAZEERA Online

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