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News

Syria government aircraft drop barrel bombs on Aleppo opposition

Syrian government aircraft have dropped barrels packed with explosives on opposition-held areas of the contested northern city of Aleppo. Dozens of people were reported killed.

At least 37 people including 16 children were reported killed in Aleppo on Sunday as government helicopters pounded the opposition neighborhoods of of Haidariya, Ard al-Hamra, Sukhour and Marjeh, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Syrian air force jets also flew raids over the same districts. The British-based organisation said that buildings were leveled and cars burned in the contested northern city.

Amateur video posted online showed buildings and vans apparently destroyed in the raids.

Aleppo has been a major front in the Syrian civil war since rebels launched an offensive on the city in mid-2012. Ongoing fighting has destroyed much of the city and divided it into rebel-held and government-controlled areas.

Food aid drops

Meanwhile, UN agencies carried out the first airlift of humanitarian supplies into the country's largely Kurdish north-east. They have been unable to reach the area by road for months because of security concerns.

Two planes chartered by the World Food Programme (WFP) and other agencies landed in Qamishli, each carrying more than 36 tons of food and other aid from Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kurdish Welati news site reported.

The WFP said it planned to carry out ten more flights in the coming days, providing "enough food to feed over 30,000 people for one month."

"Our food assistance is reaching displaced families in 13 governorates in Syria except for north-eastern al-Hassakeh, which we have not been able to reach consistently for over five months now due to insecurity on the roads," said Matthew Hollingworth, the WFP's country director in Syria.

jm/lw (AP, AFP)