New reports of barrel bomb attacks on besieged Aleppo | News | DW | 01.10.2016
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New reports of barrel bomb attacks on besieged Aleppo

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Moscow risked becoming an international pariah if its bombing continued. But Moscow and Damascus appear unperturbed by Western outrage over the relentless bombardments.

The devastating Russian-Syrian military assault on Aleppo continued Saturday with Russian airstrikes, barrel bombs and a shelling offensive by Syrian ground troops.

At least two barrel bombs hit the largest hospital in the rebel-held side of Aleppo, according to the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS).

"Two barrel bombs hit the M10 hospital and there were reports of a cluster bomb as well," said Adham Sahloul of the SAMS.

Both M10 and the second-largest hospital in the area, M2, were heavily bombed on Wednesday, attacks that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon denounced as "war crimes."

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson warned Friday that Moscow risked becoming "a pariah nation," as he hit out at the continued bombing raids in Syria.  

Meanwhile, Russian airstrikes targeted supply lines into rebel-held areas in the Malah district, while fighting continued unabated on the front line in the Suleiman al-Halaby neighborhood, north of Aleppo's Old City.

The Syrian army said it had made advances into the old city, a claim denied by the rebels.

"They are shelling the old city heavily after another failed attempt to gain ground. They have lost several fighters and we are steadfast," said Abu Hamam, a rebel from the Failaq al-Sham group.

Casualties are mounting on both sides of the divided city. About 1.2 million people are facing daily rocket fire by the rebels, while 250,000 civilians are under siege by the Syrian army in the east of the city, which is held by rebels.

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Bloodbath in Aleppo

The medical charity Doctors Without Borders has described the indiscriminate bombing of eastern Aleppo by Syrian and Russian forces as a "bloodbath."

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based group that monitors the war, reported heavy bombardment by government forces and "back and forth" fighting in the Suleiman al-Halaby neighborhood.

After retaking the strategic Handarat refugee camp north of Aleppo on Thursday, the army said it would press its advantage.

Airstrikes on rebel-held residential areas killed at least 30 people, with the use of incendiary and phosphorous bombs causing extensive damage and fires, civil defense sources said on Friday.

At least 20 were killed by sustained Russian and Syrian army strikes and artillery shelling on Friday and into the early hours of Saturday, according to The Observatory.

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State media claimed mortar attacks by rebels on government-held Midan and other areas in the city killed at least 20 people.

The Syrian military, backed by Russian air power, launched an offensive last week aimed at capturing rebel-held districts of eastern Aleppo that are home to more than 250,000 residents.

Aleppo was Syria's largest city and commercial hub before civil war broke out in 2011. The city has been divided into government and opposition sectors for the past four years.

bik/jlw (Reuters, AFP)

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