Syrian government forces press attack on Aleppo
BEIRUT (AP): SYRIAN GOVERNMENT forces pressed their assault on the eastern, rebel-held neighbourhoods of Aleppo on Tuesday, opposition activists said, while state media reported that rebel shelling of the government-controlled part of the city left six dead at a university campus.
Activists meanwhile said the death toll from a suicide bombing at a Kurdish wedding in the northeastern city of Hasakah the previous night had risen to at least 34. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group, which said its fighter had targeted a gathering of a Kurdish political party, without mentioning a wedding celebration.
Issam Amin, a local media activist, said a teenager detonated an explosive vest when he was stopped by men at the entrance of the wedding’s reception. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the civil war through a network of activists on the ground, said 11 of the fatalities were children.
The attacks underscore the chaos of the Syrian conflict. The civil war has lately focused around Aleppo, where hundreds have been killed since the collapse of a US and Russian-brokered ceasefire two weeks ago. There are several other fronts open between rebels and the government across the country, while Islamic State militants continue to stage large-scale attacks against all sides of the conflict.
THE REBEL-HELD EAST
Tuesday’s shelling on Aleppo University’s School of Sciences killed six civilians, some of them students, according to the Observatory and state media. State media said 47 were wounded.
Rebels said pro-government forces were attacking the city from the south in a bid to penetrate its opposition-controlled areas, where the UN estimates 275,000 people are trapped in a government siege. The Islamic Front rebel coalition said on Twitter that its factions repelled an advance on the Sheikh Saeed neighbourhood.
The Observatory said the government offensive is accompanied by air strikes on the contested neighbourhoods. The monitoring group says 420 civilians have been killed in and around Aleppo since the collapse of the ceasefire, mainly in the rebelheld east of the embattled city.
Health facilities and hospitals have come under repeated attack in the offensive, prompting global outcry.
In Geneva, the UN human rights chief decried an unfolding “calamity” in Aleppo and condemned the Security Council for scuttling resolutions that would prohibit war crimes.