Russia renews heavy bombing of Aleppo
REGIME ally Russia carried out its heaviest strikes in days on Syria’s Aleppo as rebel fire killed at least five schoolchildren in the war-torn country’s south.
The raids in Aleppo killed 25 civilians, a monitor said, and caused massive damage in several residential areas of the city’s rebel-held east.
Russian President Vladimir Putin meanwhile cancelled a trip to Paris in a row over the violence in Syria, where Moscow is helping President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in an operation to recapture all of Aleppo.
The assault began after the collapse of a short-lived truce negotiated by Washington and Moscow, and has seen the besieged east of the city come under fierce aerial assault.
“This is the heaviest Russian bombardment since the Syrian regime announced it would reduce the bombardment last week,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.
The 25 dead, among them four children, were killed in raids in east Aleppo including in the districts of Bustan al-Qasr and Fardos, the Observatory said.
An AFP correspondent in Bustan al-Qasr saw a multi-storey residential building that had been destroyed, its facade sheared off.
Footage by the Aleppo Media Centre activist group showed a toddler, blood smeared across her face, lying on a hospital bed.
An elderly man near her wailed in pain as a team of medics bent over him, calling out instructions to the nurses.
Backed by Russian air raids, government forces have been advancing street by street into rebel-held parts of Aleppo.
More than 300 people, mostly civilians, have been killed by government or Russian fire since the operation began.
French President Francois Hollande had described the Aleppo campaign as a war crime a day after Moscow vetoed a UN resolution on a halt to air strikes on the city.
In a sign of escalating tensions, the Kremlin said Mr Putin had called off an October 19 visit to inaugurate an Orthodox church in Paris, but was “ready to visit when it is comfortable for President Hollande”. –