Offensives launched on both sides
Syrian opposition fighters yesterday shelled government-held parts of Aleppo, killing at least 12 people, as the army claimed it was repelling a wide offensive by the rebels in the country’s largest city.
Activists, meanwhile, said government forces were also shelling rebel-held parts of the city, killing two people and wounding several.
The escalation came as the diplomatic focus moved to Moscow where the UN envoy for Syria started talks in efforts to restore a piecemeal cease-fire that would also include the contested northern city.
Staffan de Mistura is expected to push that the truce also cover Aleppo, which has seen an escalation in violence in recent weeks. De Mistura’s meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov came a day after he met with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva.
In opening remarks in Moscow, de Mistura said “we need to make sure the cessation of hostilities is brought back on track”.
Aleppo has been the centre of violence over the past 12 days that left more than 250 civilians dead in the contested city.
Syrian state TV said shells hit a governmentheld area during morning rush hour, killing seven people and wounding at least 35, while activists reported two dead in a rebel neighbourhood.
The report said one of the rockets hit the Dubeet hospital in the central neighbourhood of Muhafaza.
“Shells and mortar rounds are raining down on every neighbourhood,” said Aleppo-based health official Mohammad Hazouri, speaking from Al-Razi hospital. He said four people were killed and more than 30 wounded in Dubeet hospital alone, adding that half the casualties at the hospital were women and children.