Syrian swimmer and her 12-year-old brother killed by shelling in Aleppo

Student and sportswoman Mireille Hindoyan was seriously injured and later died after bombs fell on the Villi district of the city

Katie Forster@katieforster
Saturday 01 October 2016 23:11
Mireille Hindoyan
Mireille Hindoyan

A young Syrian swimmer and her 12-year-old brother have been killed by heavy shelling in Aleppo.

Mireille Hindoyan, a university student and sportswoman, was seriously injured and later died after bombs fell on the Villi district of the city, home to many people of Armenian descent.

Her brother Arman Hindoyan also died in the attack on Friday, according to Aleppo-based Armenian news service Kantsasar.

A Facebook post by the Aleppo branch of the Armenian Youth Association confirmed Ms Hindoyan had been killed in the strikes and offered its condolences to her family.

Ms Hindoyan was a “reliable and hard-working member of the sports committee”, said the post.

A number of commentators claimed the deaths were a result of a rebel-led attack, although those claims could not be verified.

It came after medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said there had been a “bloodbath” in Aleppo amid a sustained assault on the city by pro-Assad forces backed by Russian warplanes.

The siblings’ mother was in hospital with injuries after the attack, according to news website Arevelk. Two other people hMad died in the bombing and at least seven others were injured, reported Armenian Weekly.

People walk on the rubble of damaged buildings in the rebel held area of al-Kalaseh in Aleppo on 29 September

Some reports on social media suggested that Ms Hindoyan had swum in national contests, but The Independent was unable to confirm this.

During the Rio Olympics, 18-year-old Yusra Mardini from Syria made headlines as she competed as part of a team of 10 refugee athletes.

Ms Mardini was a talented swimmer in war-torn Damascus and was professionally backed by the Syrian Olympic Committee.

She now lives in Berlin after helping to save the lives of 20 people with her sister during their dangerous journey from Syria, by jumping off a sinking dinghy into the Aegean Sea and pushing their boat to land.

Two patients have reportedly been killed and 13 more injured in an attack on the largest hospital in Aleppo, codenamed M10. A number of people were believed to be trapped.

The hospital was hit by two devastating barrel bombs – improvised weapons that are cheap to make – rendering the area’s biggest medical facility completely out of use.

At least one rocket and two cluster bombs also hit the hospital, according to the Syrian American Medical Society.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attacks, but hospital facilities have been plagued by bombing by forces loyal to the Syrian government in recent weeks.