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Shelling in Syria kills 20

Government shelling in Raqqa has killed about 20 people, at least eight of them children.

Government shelling in Raqqa has killed about 20 people, at least eight of them children.

BEIRUT - Government shelling in the northern Syrian province of Raqqa killed about 20 people, at least eight of them children, a video posted by activists on Wednesday showed.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights published a video showing rows of the blood-stained bodies laid out on blankets. The sound of crying relatives could be heard in the background.

The shelling hit the province's al-Qahtania village, but it was unclear when the attack happened.

Meanwhile, a police chief for the military has since defected.

"I am General Abdelaziz Jassim al-Shalal, head of the military police. I have defected because of the deviation of the army from its primary duty of protecting the country and its transformation into gangs of killing and destruction," the officer said in a video published on YouTube.

The 21-month-old conflict has claimed thousands of lives while President Bashar al-Assad refuses to step down.