Syria: Dozens dead as rebels try to break Aleppo siege

This still image taken from drone footage, posted online by the communications arm of Ahrar al-Sham militant group, purports to show a blast on the ground, apparently the result of an airstrike, in an Assad neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria. Syrian government forces launched a counteroffensive Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, under the cover of airstrikes in an attempt to regain control of areas they had lost to insurgents the day before in the northern city of Aleppo, activists and state media said. (Ahrar al-Sham, militant video, via AP)

Damascus, Syrian government troops and rebels were locked in fierce fighting on Sunday on Aleppo’s western edges, where at least 41 civilians have been killed over the past three days.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a Britain-based monitor, said the death toll included at least 17 children, adding hundreds of mortars had been fired.

The northern city of Aleppo’s frontline runs through the heart of the ancient city, dividing rebels in the east from government forces in the west.

Rebels, in an opposition offensive to break a devastating siege, have unleashed car bombs and salvos of rockets and mortar shells to break through government lines.

Syrian state media on Sunday accused opposition fighters of firing shells containing toxic gas into government-controlled districts. The rebels denied the allegations.

It was impossible for Al Jazeera to independently verify the claim.

State news agency SANA reported 35 people were suffering from shortness of breath, numbness, and muscle spasms after “toxic gases” hit the frontline district of Dahiyet al-Assad and regime-held Hamdaniyeh.

United Nations Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said he was “appalled and shocked by the high number of rockets indiscriminately launched” on civilian suburbs of government-held Aleppo.

“Those who argue that this is meant to relieve the siege of eastern Aleppo should be reminded that nothing justifies the use of disproportionate and indiscriminate weapons, including heavy ones, on civilian areas and it could amount to war crimes,” de Mistura said.

The head of Aleppo University Hospital, Ibrahim Hadid, told state television “36 people, including civilians and combatants, were wounded after inhaling toxic chlorine gas released by terrorists”.

Source- Al Jazeera News And Agencies

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