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Russia relaunches 'heavy' strikes on Aleppo

Dozens of people have been killed in fresh strikes on rebel-held sections of Aleppo after days of relative calm. A monitor claims the regime forces have been slowly advancing into the besieged areas.

Russian jets resumed their bombing of Aleppo with at least 25 people killed on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Residents from the scene and rescue workers put he death toll at 50, while also including villages near Aleppo controlled by the insurgents.

"This is the heaviest Russian bombardment since the Syrian regime announced it would reduce the bombardment" last week, said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

Both Moscow and Damascus said the reduction was aimed to allow civilians to leave the affected neighborhoods. The move came at a time of growing international outrage over the fate of 250,000 civilians still living in the opposition-controlled areas.

"In the past few days there were raids; but they targeted areas where mainly fighting was taking place between the rebels and the regime forces, not neighborhoods inside Aleppo," Rahman told the dpa news agency on Tuesday.

Battlefield for end-times

The regime forces were now moving in on the rebel-held areas of Aleppo, street by street, according to the Observatory.

The London-based monitor also reported that rebels shelled a primary school in the southern city of Deraa, killing at least five children. The rebels deny targeting the school.

Near the Turkish border, the Turkey-backed militia closed in on the Islamic State-held village of Dabiq, the site of great symbolic value among Islamic fundamentalists. According to the Islamic State preachers, the village would be the backdrop of the key battle between Muslims and a Christian army in the end times.

Exhausted 'outrage'

The renewed bombing of Aleppo is likely to further damage the relations between Russia and Western powers. Last week, the US announced that a suspension of cooperation with Russia over Moscow's failure to rein in Bashar al-Assad.  On Sunday, France's President Francois Hollande said the campaign in Aleppo amounted to a war crime, with rising tensions eventually prompting Vladimir Putin to cancel his visit to Paris on Tuesday.

On the same day, the UK's top diplomat Boris Johnson called for anti-war activists to gather outside the Russian embassy in London, saying that anti war groups were not showing enough "outrage" over Aleppo.

Johnson said the "wells of outrage are growing exhausted" after years of fighting in Syria.

dj/bw (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

 

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