The death toll in Syria has hit 40,000, but the 10 latest reported deaths stand out: children killed on a playground by a cluster bomb yesterday, according to opposition activists. Videos of the carnage in Deir al-Asafir were posted online, reports the BBC, and show a woman weeping over a girl's body, two girls dead in the street, and two lifeless boys in the backseat of a car. "None of those killed were older than 15 years old," an activist tells Reuters. Reports of bomblet-spraying cluster bombs being used on rebel-held towns are increasing, though Bashar al-Assad's regime maintains that it doesn't possess the weapons. The BBC explains that such bomblets are packed with hundreds of metal pieces that can kill those within an 80-foot range. In other Syria news:
- Syrian rebels captured a helicopter base just outside Damascus yesterday and destroyed government helicopters to prevent them from being used against opposition forces. At least 15 rebels and eight soldiers were killed in the process. An activist calls the seizure a "blow to the morale of the regime, because it is close to the heart of the capital," reports the AP, which notes the base is about 10 miles from Damascus.
- Assad's regime is hard-up for cash—and ProPublica reports that it got some big help on that front by way of Russia, which flew 240 tons of "bank notes" into the country via eight Moscow-to-Damascus flights between July and September, according to flight manifest records. ProPublica was able to verify that the flights occurred, but notes that Syria and Russian officials didn't respond to questions about the records' accuracy. Earlier reports had indicated that Russia started printing fresh Syrian pounds over the summer.
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