People walk near a crater caused by what activists said was an air strike on a secondary school from forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad that hit a secondary school in Raqqa, eastern Syria September 29, 2013. At least 12 people, most of them students, were killed in an air strike that hit a secondary school in the rebel-held Syrian city of Raqqa on Sunday, activists said.
Syrian President Bashar Assad said Sunday that he will abide by the United Nation's agenda to destroy his 1,000-ton stockpile of chemical weapons by mid-2014.
"We joined the international agreement against the acquisition and use of chemical weapons even before this resolution was passed," he told Italian television station RaiNews24 when asked if Syria would comply with Friday's resolution.
The U.N. Security Council unanimously passed a resolution on Friday that demands the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal — but does not threaten automatic punitive action against Assad's government if it does not comply, in which case another resolution would have to pass.
A man looks at one of the walls of the secondary school that is covered with blood after activists said it was hit by an air strike from forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad in Raqqa, eastern Syria September 29, 2013.
"Of course we have to comply. This is our history to comply with every treaty we sign," he said in a video of the interview posted on the Syrian presidency's official Facebook page. "According to every chapter in the agreement, we don't have any reservation."
The U.S.-Russia deal forestalled a U.S. military strike against Assad's government, which Washington blamed for an August 21 sarin nerve gas attack on a Damascus suburb that killed hundreds. The Syrian government and its ally Russia blamed anti-government rebels for the attack.
As Assad spoke of compliance with the U.N. accord Sunday, an air strike hit a secondary school in the rebel-held Syrian city of Raqqa claiming the lives of at least 16 people — mostly students — activists said.
Raqqa in northeastern Syria has been under the control of insurgents fighting to oust Assad since March but the city remains subject to regular aerial bombardment by government forces.
British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group with a network of opposition sources across the country, said the death toll following the air strike was at least 16 — 10 of them students a the school — but that the number would likely rise, as some people were critically wounded.
Opposition activists based in Raqqa, a city of around 250,000 people, published a list of 14 people they said were victims of the strike on the school and said there were more than 30 others wounded.
Videos posted online by activists showed the bloody and charred remains of bodies said to have been from the air strike in Raqqa, Reuters reported. Some of the victims appeared to be young men, possibly in their teens.
More than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria's conflict, which started as a peaceful uprising in March 2011 and turned into a civil war after a violent government crackdown on civilian demonstrators.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
First published September 29 2013, 8:09 AM