Russian jets resume heavy bombing of eastern Aleppo
Reuters, Oct 12 2016
Russian jets resumed heavy bombing of rebel-held eastern Aleppo on Tuesday after several days of relative calm, a rebel official and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Air strikes mostly hit the Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood, Zakaria Malhifji of the Aleppo-based Fastaqim rebel group told Reuters. He said:
There is renewed bombardment and it is heavy.
The Observatory said the death toll from bombing in Bustan al-Qasr, Fardous and other neighborhoods rose to at least 25, with scores of wounded. At least 50 civilians were killed by strikes on the rebel-held part of the city and nearby villages controlled by insurgents, residents and rescue workers said. In Bustan al-Qasr, residents said, the strikes hit a medical center and a children’s playground. The Syrian army, backed by Iranian-backed militias, also said it had consolidated its control of the al-Jandoul traffic circle at a major road intersection on the northern outskirts of Aleppo. Moscow and Damascus reduced air raids in the northern city last week. The Syrian army said that 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. The opposition-held sector has been completely encircled for weeks. Insurgents have advanced elsewhere, including in Hama province further south, where they captured a series of towns and villages last month. But in recent days government forces have regained some of that ground. In the southern city of Deraa, which is split between government and rebel control, insurgent shelling of a school killed at least five people, including children, on Tuesday, the Observatory and state media reported. Rebels denied they fired at the school. Residents reported the same death toll. Near the Turkish border, rebels backed by Turkey and a Pindo-led coalition (not the Kurdish one! – RB) closed in on the Daesh-held village of Dabiq, the site of an apocalyptic prophesy central to the militant group’s ideology. FSA have been pushing south into Daesh territory in an operation backed by Turkey since Aug 24, and have taken more villages near Dabiq in recent days. A rebel from the Failaq al-Sham group said:
We retook the villages of Ihtimlat and Kafra only hours after the FSA seized them. They planted along their front lines of defense hundreds of mines. Now the goal of FSA forces was to retake the town of Soran, a Daesh stronghold in the area, before moving on to Dabiq.