Russian jets end relative calm in Aleppo

aleppo

 

A rebel official and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said that Russian jets resumed heavy bombing of rebel-held eastern Aleppo on Tuesday after several days of relative calm.

Air strikes mostly hit the Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood, Zakaria Malhifji of the Aleppo-based Fastaqim rebel group told Reuters.

“There is renewed bombardment and it is heavy,” he said.

The Observatory said at least eight people were killed in Bustan al-Qasr and Fardous neighborhoods.

Moscow and Damascus reduced air raids in the northern city last week. The Syrian army said it was partly to allow civilians to leave opposition-held eastern neighborhoods.

The Syrian government said rebels holed up in Aleppo can leave with their families if they lay down their arms.

Insurgents denounced that offer as a deception.

President Bashar al-Assad seeks the complete recapture of Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city before the 5-1/2-year war, and which has been divided between government and opposition control for years.

Assad’s ally Russia has meanwhile built up its forces in Syria since a brief ceasefire collapsed last month.

Russia’s intervention a year ago has helped the government side gain the upper hand against rebels on many frontlines in the Syrian conflict, including Aleppo where the opposition-held sector has been completely encircled for weeks.

Insurgents had advanced elsewhere against government forces and their allies, including in Hama province further south where they captured a series of towns and villages last month. Government forces have regained some of those areas in recent days, however.

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