20:30 Nov. 12, 2016
Putin-Assad forces renewed attacks on rebel areas and civilians in Aleppo
A flotilla of Russian warships is now in the eastern Mediterranean off the Syrian coast after being sent to reinforce Russia's military in the area, a naval commander said on state television, AFP reports.
The commander of Russia's flagship ‘Admiral Kuznetsov' aircraft carrier, Sergei Artamonov, said via videolink that the ships are now in the "designated zone... in the eastern Mediterranean" and "are now jointly carrying out tasks, manoeuvering to the west of the Syrian coast".
The battle group has travelled to Syria from the North Sea through the English Channel in the largest naval deployment in recent years as part of Russia's military intervention in Syria.
Russia has been flying a bombing campaign in Syria for the past year in support of President Bashar al-Assad and has deployed a naval contingent to back up its operation.
Meanwhile, the Syrian army captured the Dahiyet al-Assad district of western Aleppo on Saturday, reversing all the gains made by rebels two weeks into their counter-attack against government-held areas, Reuters reports referring to a war monitor and rebel official.
State television said the army swept the suburban area for landmines after regaining full control.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based war monitor, said the army and its allies made several advances on the divided city's western edge this week, hampering the rebel offensive to break the siege of opposition-held districts.
After heavy air strikes pounded the area, Syrian government forces took Minian village and nearby positions, which were captured by rebels last month, the Observatory said.
Zakaria Malahifji, head of the political office of the Fastaqim rebel group fighting in Aleppo, confirmed the army's advances: "Of course, when the regime takes control, it has a negative effect, but there is persistence" among the factions… And hopefully there will be change in the coming days."
Nine civilians were killed by Russian airstrikes on Friday in Syrian province of Aleppo, among them three children, Turkish state agency Anadolu reports.
"30 people were injured when Russian warplanes struck residential areas in the opposition-held Kfar Dael village," Beibars Meshal, a civil defense official in Aleppo, announced.
Moreover, the Russian air forces have also bombed Daret Izze area near Aleppo, using napalm and white phosphorus shells. The exact number of victims is unknown at the moment.
A local activist Abu Ammar said that the Russian forces fired at Minyan village in the south-west of Aleppo as well. Opposition forces had to leave the village.