Dozens killed in latest Syria fighting: activists

Citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows unexploded rocket from a Syrian warplane, in the neighborhood of Karam Alqasir, near Aleppo International Airport, in Aleppo, Syria, on Feb. 21, 2013.

Updated 4:45 a.m. EST

BEIRUT Anti-regime activists say dozens of rebels and government forces have been killed in fighting near a police academy near the northern city of Aleppo.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Tuesday that the dead in the last two days of clashes included at least 26 rebel fighters, 40 soldiers and five pro-government militiamen.

The activist group says the two sides have been shelling each other while the government has launched airstrikes.

The police academy lies on the eastern side of Aleppo, Syria's largest city, which rebels have been battling to control since last July.

The U.N. say some 70,000 have been killed since Syria's conflict began in March 2011.

Separately, an international human rights organization says the Syrian military fired at least four ballistic missiles into the embattled northern city of Aleppo over the past week, killing more than 140 people, including 70 children.

Human Rights Watch says the attacks by the regime of President Bashar Assad on residential areas of Aleppo mark an "escalation of unlawful attacks against Syria's civilian population."

A researcher with the U.S.-based group, who visited Aleppo last week to inspect the targeted sites, said up to 20 buildings were destroyed in each area hit by a missile. There were no signs of any military targets in the residential districts, located in rebel-held parts of Aleppo, the group said in a report Tuesday.

Aleppo has seen some of the heaviest fighting in Syria's nearly 2-year-old conflict.