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Photos said to indicate massive damage in Syria by ballistic missiles

Photos said to indicate massive damage in Syria by ballistic missiles
A handout photo distributed by Syrian News Agency (SANA) on July 3, 2012, shows Syria's President Bashar al-Assad during an interview with a Turkish newspaper in Damascus. UPI | License Photo

ALEPPO, Syria, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- The Syrian city of Aleppo has been "utterly devastated" by ballistic missiles over the past year, photos analyzed by Amnesty International indicate.

The satellite photos, taken a year apart on Aug. 6 in 2012 and 2013, show "alarming trends in how the conflict is being fought with utter disregard for the rules of international humanitarian law," the human rights group said in a statement Wednesday.

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An analysis of seven images taken between September 2012 and May 2013 show entire areas of the city reduced to rubble, AI said.

The photos show "Aleppo has been utterly devastated, its people fleeing the conflagration in huge numbers," said Donatella Rovera, a senior crisis adviser with AI who produced the analysis in coordination with the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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The photos show a significant cause of the displacement of half the city's residents is "a campaign of indiscriminate air bombardment by government forces," AI said.

Syrian bombing has caused "a near constant pace of destruction," the analysis said, with photos showing destruction of residential, religious, commercial and industrial area.

Rebels said they attacked President Bashar Assad's convoy early Thursday.

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Later, Syrian state television aired video of Assad praying in a Damascus mosque shortly after the attack.

The footage showed Assad attending Eid el-Fitr prayers marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan at the Anas bin Malek mosque in Damascus, al-Arabiya said.

SANA, the official Syrian news website, made no mention of the attack and said Assad prayed at the mosque in Damascus. There was no photograph to back the statement.

Rebel general Firas al-Bitar said rebels fired 17 mortars at a convoy transporting the Syrian leader early Thursday, al-Arabiya reported.

Bitar said rebels acted on information they received concerning the route Assad's convoy was to take. He was unable to verify if the Syrian leader was wounded in the attack.

Wahid Sagar, a member of the opposition told the pan-Arab network Assad may have traveled in a different convoy.

Roads surrounding Assad's office in the al-Rawdha neighborhood were sealed off after the attack, the network said.

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