Syrian activists say at least 21 people were killed when government forces dropped barrel bombs on a crowded market in Aleppo. Barrel bombs are oil drums or barrels filled with explosives and shrapnel.
Reports claim 400 people have lost their lives in a fortnight of government attacks on Syria’s largest city. Aleppo is 310 kilometres from the capital Damascus.
Parts of Aleppo are under rebel control. The government says it is targeting terrorists.
Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has sent a private message to Pope Francis.
The Pontiff has made several appeals for an end to the violence that has claimed an estimated 100,000 lives since March 2011. In his Christmas Day address in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis called for humanitarian aid access in Syria.
The main Syrian opposition group – the National Coalition – says it will not take part in peace talks due to take place in Geneva in January if the airstrikes continue.
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