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Syria civil war sees deadliest week, UNICEF says

By the CNN Wire Staff
September 3, 2012 -- Updated 0021 GMT (0821 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The number of dead on Sunday rises to at least 144, says an opposition group
  • The rebel Free Syrian Army says it carried out a Damascus bombing
  • At least 1,600 people, including children, are killed in a week, UNICEF says
  • A documentary group says nearly 5,000 people died in August

(CNN) -- At least 1,600 people were killed in Syria last week, making it the deadliest week yet in the civil war, a UNICEF spokesman said Sunday.

Patrick McCormick of the U.N. children's fund said the toll included children, as the government of Bashar al-Assad fights to suppress an 18-month uprising against its rule.

Nearly 5,000 people died in August, according to the Center of Documentation of Violation in Syria, which put the toll for the month at 4,937.

And there appeared to be no letup in the violence on Sunday, with opposition sources saying at least 144 people were killed across the country.

In this photo provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center, Syrian men help survivors out of a building in Aleppo after it was bombed, allegedly by a Syrian regime warplane on Saturday, February 8. The United Nations estimates more than 100,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011. Click through to see the most compelling images taken during the conflict, which is now a civil war: In this photo provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center, Syrian men help survivors out of a building in Aleppo after it was bombed, allegedly by a Syrian regime warplane on Saturday, February 8. The United Nations estimates more than 100,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011. Click through to see the most compelling images taken during the conflict, which is now a civil war:
Syrian civil war in photos
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The Local Coordination Committees of Syria, an opposition group, said the toll includes a "massacre" of 35 people in the village of Al Fan in Hama province.

The state news agency SANA said there had been a clash between government forces and an "armed terrorist group" in the area.

Separately, a bombing near a government security building in the capital Damascus left at least four people wounded, state television said, calling the incident "terrorism."

The opposition Free Syrian Army's Grandsons of the Prophet Brigade said it carried out the attack.

CNN cannot independently verify reports of violence, because the Syrian government limits access by international journalists.

Opposition fighters claimed Saturday to be making advances, saying they captured a military air force base after an 11-day siege.

They seized the base to prevent airstrikes and shelling of civilians, Ridha Al-Alwani said via Skype from the border city of Albu Kamal in Deir Ezzour province.

A Free Syrian Army spokesman said the installation was the Air Defense battalion headquarters in Albu Kamal.

The military, however, still controls two other bases that it used to launch airstrikes following the rebel attack, Al-Alwani said.

At least 162 people died across Syria on Saturday, including 55 in and around Damascus, opposition activists said.

Several political activists reported that regime forces raided a hospital in the Damascus suburb of Kafar Batna, killed medical staff, and wounded patients. They said regime forces later burned the hospital.

The Local Coordination Committees of Syria said the regime forces had targeted the hospital in the past because it treated protesters.

CNN's Sarah Jones, Amir Ahmed and Hamdi Alkhshali contributed to this report.

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