Published: Fri, October 14, 2016
Culture | By Antonia Gonzales

Airstrikes hit rebel-held neighborhoods of Syria's Aleppo

Airstrikes hit rebel-held neighborhoods of Syria's Aleppo

"The bombing has been very intense", Selmo told Reuters on Thursday, speaking from Syria in an area outside Aleppo city. The announcement also comes at a time when two days of renewed air strikes on Aleppo killed at least 75 people.

The ensuing surge in fighting saw government forces declare a large-scale offensive, backed by Russian and Syrian air power, to capture the opposition-held half of battered Aleppo.

Moscow has come under mounting worldwide pressure over the rising civilian death toll from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's Russian-backed campaign to take east Aleppo, including Western accusations of possible war crimes.

An intensive day of bombing in Syria's besieged rebel-held Aleppo city left at least 25 people dead, including five children, overwhelming rescue workers who continued a day later Wednesday to search for survivors under the rubble, according to activists and a civil defense spokesman. Washington and Moscow, which officially cut off bilateral contact on the issue last week after a truce deal unraveled, on Wednesday announced two days of talks - in Lausanne on Saturday, and in London on Sunday.

But Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will now meet his U.S. counterpart John Kerry and other key regional powers in Switzerland on Saturday.

A Syrian regime military source said warplanes had struck several locations to the south and southwest of Aleppo but Syrian and Russian officials could not immediately be reached to comment on the market place attack.

But neither side confirmed an invitation to Iran, a key player in the conflict and an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based organisation that reports on the war, said it had documented the deaths of 55 people killed in escalating bombardment of eastern Aleppo during the past 48 hours.

On the northeastern outskirts of the city, advancing regime troops captured several hilltops overlooking opposition-held areas.

Once Syria's economic powerhouse, Aleppo has been ravaged by the conflict that began with anti-government protests in March 2011.

Vehicles drive past damaged buildings in the northern Syrian opposition-held town of al-Waqf, in Aleppo, Syria, October 9, 2016.

"I am deeply convinced that it is our Western partners, first and foremost of course the United States, who are responsible for the situation", he told France's TF1 television.

President Vladimir Putin vowed that Russia won't give in to "blackmail and pressure" over its military offensive in Syria and accused the USA and its allies of whipping up "anti-Russian hysteria".

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls faced criticism from opposition lawmakers over his government's handling of relations with Russian Federation over Syria.

France and the United States are now calling for an investigation into Syria and Russian Federation for alleged war crimes against civilians.

French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Putin to push for a ceasefire, despite the repeated setbacks. The US military later expressed regret over the strike saying its intention was to strike the Islamic State (Isis) and not Syrian forces.

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