Assad unleashes intense attack on Aleppo - with Russian jets in support

 

Rebel-held areas of Aleppo subjected to renewed regime bombing campaign as talks in New York to save last week’s ceasefire collapse 

Assad unleashes intense attack on Aleppo - with Russian jets in support

Syrian government and Russian warplanes are targeting rebel strongholds in east Aleppo in the second day of intense bombing after the army announced a new campaign, rescue workers and activists on the ground have said.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) estimated 30 air strikes took place from midnight on Friday.

Ammar al-Selmo, the head of the local civil defence rescue service, or the White Helmets, said five jets he identified as Russian began a fresh wave of bombing at around 6am.

“What's happening now is annihilation,” he told Reuters. “It’s as if the planes are trying to compensate for all the days they didn’t drop bombs [during the ceasefire].”

Incendiary bombs are among the weapons that fell from the sky “like rain,” as several activists have described it, causing major fires. The White Helmets said several people had been confirmed dead at Aleppo’s hospitals, but there are no precise figures. SOHR said at least 14 have died so far.

The rebel-run Aleppo Media Centre said 20 people have been killed, and the city's main water pumping station has been destoyed.

A man carries an injured girl after airstrikes on the rebel held al-Qaterji neighbourhood of Aleppo

The Syrian military announced a new operation against rebels in east Aleppo - where 250,000 civilians live under siege conditions - late on Thursday.

John Kerry accused Russia of existing in a parallel universe at the United Nations this week

The decision came as US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov emerged from what a UN mediator described as “long, painful, difficult and disappointing“ talks in New York on restoring the recent ceasefire.

Russia and the US brokered a deal on September 9 which included a truce between the Syrian government and a coalition of rebel forces, aid deliveries for Aleppo, and possibly joint military action against Isis and al-Qaeda linked groups.

The deal collapsed after an American coalition led air strike accidentally hit a Syrian army base near Isis territory, and an aid convoy near Aleppo was attacked, killing 20 volunteers and Syrian Arab Red Crescent workers.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has denied that his forces or Russian allies were behind the attack.

In an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday he dismissed US claims the regime bombed the convoy as “lies”, adding that it was not strategically sound to target humanitarian workers and that he is “morally committed” to his people’s interests.

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