800 dead in bloody week in Syria

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BEIRUT -- A rocket slammed into a building in Syria's northern city of Aleppo and two suicide bombers struck near a mosque in the south yesterday, capping a particularly bloody week in the country's civil war with more than 800 civilians killed, including an unusually large proportion in government-held areas.

The residential building struck in Aleppo was in a part of the city controlled by regime forces, as was a university hit earlier in the week in an attack that killed 87 people, mostly students. The government accused rebels in both attacks, saying they hit the locations with rockets, a claim the opposition denies.

But if confirmed it would signal that the rebels have acquired more sophisticated weaponry from captured regime bases and are taking the fight into government areas. Rockets would for the first time give the rebels a greater range, an advantage that until now the regime military has overwhelmingly held.

Regime bombardment has caused heavy civilian casualties -- and if the rebels start blasting back, the civilian toll would likely rise.

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Rebels blamed the Aleppo attack on a government airstrike.

Also Friday, state TV said rebels linked to al-Qaida detonated car bombs near a mosque in the city of Daraa, causing many casualties. -- AP

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