Syr­ian airstrikes on Aleppo amid in­tense clashes

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - WEATHER - By Bassem Mroue

BEIRUT >> Syr­ian gov­ern­ment forces launched a coun­terof­fen­sive Satur­day 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.

Mean­while, in­sur­gents launched a fresh of­fen­sive on the city, a day af­ter em­bark­ing on a broad ground at­tack aimed at break­ing a weeks-long gov­ern­ment siege on the eastern re­bel­held neigh­bor­hoods of Syria’s largest city.

The in­sur­gents were able to cap­ture much of the western neigh­bor­hood of As­sad where much of Satur­day’s fight­ing was con­cen­trated, ac­cord­ing to the Syr­ian army and the Bri­tain-based Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights.

The Ob­ser­va­tory said the new of­fen­sive by Syr­ian troops and their al­lies went un­der the cover of Rus­sian and Syr­ian airstrikes but gov­ern­ment forces did not suc­ceed in re­gain­ing con­trol of ar­eas they lost. The group said the fight­ing and airstrikes are mostly on Aleppo’s western and south­ern edges.

The Syr­ian army com­mand said troops and their al­lies are pound­ing in­sur­gent po­si­tions with ar­tillery shells and rock­ets adding that “all kinds of weapons” are be­ing used in the fight­ing in the As­sad neigh­bor­hood. The Aleppo Me­dia Cen­ter, an ac­tivist col­lec­tive, re­ported airstrikes and ar­tillery shelling of ar­eas near Aleppo. The AMC and an­other ac­tivist col­lec­tive, the Lo­cal Co­or­di­na­tion Com­mit­tees, said rebels en­tered the vil­lage of Minian west of Aleppo Satur­day af­ter­noon af­ter in­tense fight­ing with gov­ern­ment forces.

Later Satur­day, the rebels said they launched an at­tack on the Zahraa neigh­bor­hood in western Aleppo to try and cap­ture it from gov­ern­ment forces. The at­tack be­gan with a mas­sive ex­plo­sion that struck gov­ern­ment po­si­tions on the front line, said Yasser al-Yousef of the Nour el-Din el-Zinki group, a main fac­tion in Aleppo.

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