DAMASCUS, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- At least six civilians were killed Monday when armed militias fired 11 mortar shells on an anti- militia protest in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo, the state-run SANA news agency said.
The armed groups fired the mortars to put down the protest that erupted in Bustan al-Qaser district expressing rejection to the presence of the militias in the area, said SANA.
Aleppo has been battered with violence since months ago after the rebels announced their goal to seize control of the crucial province in a bid to create a de facto capital akin to Libya's Benghazi. The Libyan city had been used by the rebels as their base during the Libyan civil war that toppled long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi.
More than 20,000 Syrians, mostly civilians, have reportedly died since the Syrian crisis started some 20 months ago. About 2.5 million Syrians are in urgent need of humanitarian aid and over 340,000 have crossed border into Syria's neighbors such as Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, according to UN estimates.