Intense air strikes have hit several rebel-held areas in Aleppo for the first time in more than two weeks, signalling the start of a major government offensive in Syria’s northern city.
The ferocious bombardment of eastern Aleppo on Tuesday came as Russian armed forces also announced the launch of a large-scale operation against opposition targets in Syria.
Syrian state television said government jets carried out attacks against what it called “terrorist strongholds” and supply depots in the old city of Aleppo, citing what it described as “special sources”.
The air strikes killed at least 10 people in Aleppo city, according to The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and other groups. The Local Coordination Committees, an activist group, said death toll was at least four.
“In the last few hours at least nine neighbourhoods inside the city of Aleppo have come under intense bombardment,” said Al Jazeera’s Osama bin Javaid, reporting from Gaziantep, on the Turkish side of the Syria-Turkey border.
“Residents from inside Aleppo tell us that there is chaos and mayhem in the streets -where there are streets still remaining. Many parts of Aleppo have been cut off from other areas because they were targeted in earlier air strikes and roads were taken. Medics say they are trying to reach those areas but they are still stuck inside their homes because enemy aircraft are still in the air,” Javaid said.
“In the northern part of Aleppo, air strikes have been the most intense and activists there tell us that this is where they expect that a ground incursion will occur.”