AMMAN: Nearly 40 strikes hit rebel-held areas in and around Syria’s Aleppo city on Sunday in some of the heaviest recent raids by Russian and Syrian government war-planes, residents and a monitor said.
Rebels also hit government-held parts of the city in what Syrian media said was an escalation in mortar attacks on the western parts of the country’s largest city before the war.
State media said missiles fired on Hamadaniyah and the Midan areas by insurgents left scores injured and several casualties in a second day of intense shelling of government held areas which left at least 24 dead on Saturday
The Syrian Observatory for Human rights said dozens of barrel bombs – oil drums or cylinders packed with explosives and shrapnel- were dropped by military helicopters on the heavy populated al Qatriji neighbourhood.
The monitor said that had killed at least nine civilians and injured scores.
A civil defence worker contacted in rebel-held areas said rescue workers had pulled at least twenty bodies from under the rubble in several locations.
The aerial raids on Sunday came in the wake of Friday’s strikes on civilian areas that residents said were the most intense in over a month.
The city, which has been divided for years between rebel and government held zones, has borne the brunt of deadly bombardments that have all but destroyed a February ceasefire that has killed dozens.
Full control of Aleppo city would be a huge prize for President Bashar al-Assad. Russia’s military intervention in support of Damascus in September has helped bolster Assad’s government.
The monitor also said the Syrian raids had targeted the main road that leads into rebel-held Aleppo as part of a campaign to cut the main rebel route in and complete the encirclement of the city’s insurgent held areas.