A weapons factory and workshop where mortars and rockets are made. There are many such workshops in Azaz and they are frequentky targeted by government bombings. The city of Azaz, close to the Turkish border and 40 kilometers north of Aleppo, is frequently targetd by Assad government troops because it is a strategic location and a staging ground for rebel attacksProtests against the regime of Bashar Assad erupted in March 2011. Although initially peaceful, they were violently repressed by the Syrian army and police. In response to being ordered to shoot unarmed civilians, large numbers of men deserted and formed the core of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) which was soon joined by civilian volunteers. Since early 2012 the protest movement has escalated into a full scale civil war with sustained fighting throughout Syria between the regular army and its allied militias and the Free Syrian Army as well as other anti-regime groups, some of which include foreign jihadists. It is estimated that the conflict has so far claimed over 70,000 lives, including tens of thousands of civilians.