Jordan opens new refugee camp as latest Syria violence sees airstrike on Aleppo school

A man carries a wounded girl following a reported bombardment with explosive-packed "barrel bombs" by Syrian government forces in the Al-Mowasalat neighborhood in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, April 27, 2014. Getty

AMMAN, Jordan -- A U.N. official said Jordan was opening a new, sprawling tent city to accommodate tens of thousands more Syrian refugees who are expected to flee fighting as their nation's civil war continues unabated.

Helene Daubelcour said Jordanian officials would open the Azraq refugee camp on Wednesday, about 55 miles from the Syrian border.

The news came as Syrian activists said a government airstrike hit a school in the northern city of Aleppo, killing at least nine people including three children.

The airstrike hit the Ein Jalout school in an eastern neighborhood of Aleppo, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the local Aleppo Media Center.

Both reported the same death toll, but said numbers were expected to rise because of the extent of the explosion.

The school appeared to have been hosting an exhibition of children's paintings when the airstrike hit, according to a man speaking in a video from the school that was posted online. Another video showed colorful scrawled paintings. The videos appeared genuine and corresponded to Associated Press reporting of the event.

The attack is the latest deadly government strike against rebel held districts in Aleppo. Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad have been trying to take eastern rebel-held parts of Aleppo from rebels in recent weeks, using a mix of airstrikes and dropping crude barrel bombs on opposition areas.

The strikes frequently strike residential areas, hitting schools, mosques and markets - driving civilians to flee Syria by the hundreds of thousands in recent years.

The United Nations said the new refugee camp would ultimately host 130,000 people, as many as there are now in Zaatari, currently Jordan's largest camp.

Jordan already hosts some 600,000 Syrian refugees, forming 10 percent of the country's population.

Syria's conflict, now in its fourth year, has spawned a massive displacement crisis. There are nearly 2.7 million Syrian refugees, mostly in neighboring countries, and another 6.5 million Syrians have been displaced from their homes inside the country.



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