Monday 20 November 2017

Dozens killed as rockets rain down on Aleppo again

Civil Defence workers search a bomb site in Idlib, near Aleppo. Photo: Getty
Civil Defence workers search a bomb site in Idlib, near Aleppo. Photo: Getty

Ellen Francis

Air strikes pounded neighbourhoods around a children's hospital and a blood bank in rebel-held eastern Aleppo yesterday in a second day of renewed bombing that has killed at least 32 people, a war monitor, medics and emergency workers said.

The air raids formed part of a wider military escalation by the Syrian government and allies including Russia, which fired co-ordinated volleys of missiles at rebels on Tuesday and for the first time used its only aircraft carrier.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said the air strikes on eastern Aleppo yesterday alone killed at least 21 people, including five children and an emergency worker. They were carried out by either Russian or Syrian warplanes, it said.

The observatory said districts struck included al-Shaar, al-Sukkari, al-Sakhour and Karam al-Beik.

Air raids also continued in the countryside west of Aleppo from which rebels have launched assaults on government-held areas. An attack on the village of Batbo killed at least 19 people including three children, the observatory said.

Moscow denied reports that its jets had hit Aleppo in the renewed wave of bombardment, and said it was sticking to a moratorium on air strikes in the city.

Tuesday's bombing run on eastern Aleppo appeared to mark the end of a pause inside the city declared by Russia on October 18 which Syria's military had also largely observed.

The observatory and residents said the city's east was hit by rockets fired from jets, barrel bombs dropped from helicopters and artillery from government forces.

"The helicopters won't stop for a single moment," Bebars Mishal, a civil defence worker in rebel-held Aleppo, said.

"Right now, the bombing won't let up."

The Civil Defence is a volunteer rescue service that operates in rebel-controlled areas of Syria, including Aleppo, the country's largest city and commercial hub before the war.

Irish Independent

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