AMMAN Oct 1 Russian war planes struck rebel
held areas north of Aleppo on Saturday as the army shelled the
besieged old quarter in a major offensive, rebels and a
monitoring group said.
The air strikes focused on major supply lines into
rebel-held areas - the Castello Road and Malah district - while
fighting raged in the Suleiman al Halabi neighbourhood, the
front line to the north of Aleppo's Old City.
An army source quoted in state media said its forces had
made advances, which was denied by rebels who say they had
repelled a new assault.
"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
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
The army said it would press its advantage after retaking
the strategic Handarat camp north of Aleppo on Thursday.
On Friday, civil defence sources said air strikes on rebel
held residential areas killed at least 30 people with the use of
incendiary and phosphorous bombs causing extensive damage and
The Observatory said at least 20 were killed by sustained
Russian and Syrian army strikes and artillery shelling on Friday
and into the early hours of Saturday.
State media said rebel mortar attacks on government-held
Midan and other areas in the city killed at least 20 people.
The Syrian military and its allies launched a Russian-backed
offensive nearly 10 days ago aimed at capturing rebel-held
districts of eastern Aleppo that are home to more than 250,000
Aleppo, Syria's largest city and commercial hub before civil
war began in 2011, has been divided into government and
opposition sectors for four years.
(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)