Syrian child footballer killed by shells on Damascus: state media

Syrian child footballer killed by shells on Damascus: state media
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DAMASCUS: Rockets fired by rebels on the outskirts of Damascus killed a young Syrian footballer and wounded seven others on Saturday as they were training in the capital, state media said.

SANA said the rockets hit a sports club in the capital’s Mazraa neighbourhood, which also hosts the Russian embassy.

Mohsen Abbas, the president of the Syrian army’s football team, named the young victim as 12-year-old Samir Mohamad Massoud.

“They hit the Al-Fayhaa sports centre with a shell, which took the life of a child and wounded seven others as they were training,” said Abbas.

He said Massoud played on the Syria army football team’s youth league and had been training at Al-Fayhaa.

“He was one of the most prominent youth players and had high morals,” Abbas added.

SANA said several other players on the U-15 team were being treated at hospitals in the capital.

Al-Fayhaa is the capital’s most well-known gym and the country’s national teams train there.

It has been hit several times by rebels based on the outskirts of the capital, in their dwindling Eastern Ghouta enclave.

The latest strike on Damascus came just a few days after the deadliest rocket attack on the capital in the country’s seven-year war.

Rebel fire slammed into a popular market in the capital’s east on Tuesday night, leaving at least 44 civilians dead.

The attacks have come despite rebels clearing out of several holdouts around Ghouta under evacuation deals.

Opposition forces now hold less than ten percent of Ghouta after a more than month-old Syrian government assault has overrun the vast majority of the enclave.

Residents of Damascus have expressed hope that the offensive could put an end to the rockets hitting neighbourhoods in the capital that lie near to Ghouta. – AFP/APP

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