Aleppo braces for all-out assault as deadline for rebels expires

Aleppo braces for all-out assault as deadline for rebels expires

Kerry Wise
November 7, 2016

More than 80 civilians were killed and dozens wounded in a one-week offensive by the Syrian rebel groups in Aleppo, activists reported on Saturday.

Opposition fighters launched the protracted attack on October 28 on government-held Aleppo, aiming to break a months-long government-imposed siege on the eastern part of the city they control.

"The rebels are apparently punishing civilians in western Aleppo for allegedly supporting the Syrian army", he said.

Russia's most recent ceasefire has expired this evening, capping a 17-day period during which they have not conducted any airstrikes against the rebel portion of the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Moscow claimed that the ceasefire was to allow a "humanitarian" pause to the fighting, yet Assad regime officials and their Russian backers later came out and said that Syrian opposition fighters would also be allowed to leave Aleppo via these so-called humanitarian corridors.

The strike targeted Aleppo's western opposition-held towns of Atarib and Darat Izzah and Ibbin Village, Said Ahmed said, adding the fatalities included children and women. Russian Federation had declared a halt on airstrikes on the besieged part of the city since Oct.18.

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Outside the city, warplanes continued to target rebel supply lines in western parts of Aleppo province, according to al-Youssef of the Nour el-Din el-Zinki group. The militants have been reluctant to leave, however, and have been keeping civilians as human shields while incessantly shelling the government-held areas of the city.

According to the Syrian Civil Defense, at least three people were killed and 15 others were injured in the airstrike. Moscow said Thursday Russia and Syria were giving the ceasefire another try in an attempt to "prevent senseless casualties".

There has been an intense aerial bombing campaign in the western Aleppo countryside and nearby Idlib province.

Similar pauses ended last month with no resumption of airstrikes, which Russian Federation said it had halted in eastern Aleppo.

"This offensive will take longer than previous ones because the attacks take place in urban areas and the regime militias have a lot to lose if this siege is broken", Abu Saeed al-Halabi, a Dutch member of rebel Fatah al-Sham group, told the Associated Press in a text message from Aleppo.