300+ civilians dead in recent Aleppo violence - monitor

2016-08-20 17:10
Smoke billows from buildings during an operation by Syrian government forces to retake control of the rebel-held district of Leramun, on the northwest outskirts of Aleppo. (File, George Ourfalian, AFP)

Smoke billows from buildings during an operation by Syrian government forces to retake control of the rebel-held district of Leramun, on the northwest outskirts of Aleppo. (File, George Ourfalian, AFP)

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Aleppo - More than 300 civilians have been killed in a three-week surge of fighting and bombardment in Syria's devastated Aleppo city, a monitoring group said on Saturday.

The battle for Syria's second city has killed 333 civilians since July 31, when rebels launched a major push to break a government siege of districts under their control.

The toll includes 165 civilians - among them 49 children - killed in opposition fire on the city's government-held western districts.

Another 168 civilians died in Russian and regime air strikes and shelling on its rebel-controlled eastern neighbourhoods, the Observatory said.

Russia has been carrying out air raids in support of President Bashar Assad's forces in Syria since September 2015.

Another 109 people were killed in bombardment across the rest of Aleppo province during the same period, the Britain-based monitoring group said.

Once Syria's economic hub, Aleppo city has been ripped apart by violence since mid-2012, with warplanes bombarding the east and rockets raining down on the west.

Air strikes pounded Aleppo's southern edges on Saturday, and the intense battles there could be heard throughout the city, AFP's correspondent in an eastern neighbourhood said.

The violence rendered the rebel route out of the city - via the southern district of Ramussa - temporarily unusable, and trucks of food and other produce could not be brought into the city, the correspondent said.

Approximately 250 000 people live in the city's eastern districts, while another 1.2 million live in its western neighbourhoods.

According to the Observatory, regime forces seized territory on the city's southern edges on Saturday.

"There are a lot of clashes and air strikes, and the regime made modest advances. They are trying to reinforce their positions," Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

More than 290 000 people have been killed since Syria's conflict started in March 2011 and international efforts at putting an end to the war have faltered.

Read more on:    syria  |  syria conflict

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