Bombs, rockets rain down on Aleppo

2016-10-29 22:08
A still image, posted online by the communications arm of the Ahrar al-Sham militant group, purports to show a blast in Aleppo. (AP)

A still image, posted online by the communications arm of the Ahrar al-Sham militant group, purports to show a blast in Aleppo. (AP)

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Aleppo - Car bombs and rocket fire shook Aleppo on Saturday as rebels battled to break a suffocating siege by the Syrian regime, accused by Washington of using starvation as a "weapon of war".

The offensive, launched on Friday, aims to break through a three-month encirclement of the battered city's eastern districts, where more than 250 000 people live without access to food or humanitarian aid.

"In just a few days, we will open the way for our besieged brothers," said rebel commander Abu Mustafa from the frontline district of Dahiyet al-Assad, on the southwestern outskirts of Aleppo.

Fighting and air strikes pounded nearly all of Aleppo's western outskirts, with the most intense clashes reported in the districts of Al-Zahraa and Dahiyet al-Assad.

Yasser al-Youssef of the Noureddin al-Zinki rebel faction said opposition fighters opened a new front in Al-Zahraa on Saturday with a massive car bombing.

Opposition groups

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said rebels and allied jihadists have unleashed a barrage of rocket fire and at least 10 car bombs since their assault began.

The Britain-based group said two days of fighting have killed at least 30 regime forces and allied fighters as well as 26 Syrian rebels, but it did not give a toll for foreign militants battling alongside the opposition.

At least 21 civilians, including two children, have been killed in rebel bombardment since Friday morning.

Syrian state news agency Sana said rockets fired by opposition groups on Saturday wounded six people including a child in two regime-held districts.

The offensive has seen more than 1 500 rebels from the provinces of Aleppo and nearby Idlib amass along a front stretching for 15km along the city's western edges.

Their aim is to work their way east through a sprawling military complex, then to the district of Al-Hamdaniyeh to break through government lines.

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