17:09 Oct. 4, 2016
Putin-Assad forces attack Aleppo with air weapons after failed assault, and blame US for embassy shelling
Rebels said on Tuesday they had repelled an Assad regime army offensive in southern Aleppo as Russian and Syrian warplanes continued to pound residential areas in besieged parts of the city where thousands of civilians are trapped, Reuters report.
Rebels said they inflicted losses on pro-government forces after several hours of clashes on the fringe of Sheikh Saed district, at the southern edge of the rebel-held eastern half of Aleppo city.
"We repelled their attempt to advance in Sheikh Saed and killed 10 regime fighters and destroyed several vehicles," said a fighter from the Failaq al-Sham rebel group Abdullah al-Halabi.
Pro-government media said the Syrian army was pressing ahead in a major campaign supported by Iranian-backed militias and Russian air power to take full control of the divided northern Syrian city after a ceasefire collapsed last month.
The army offensive is backed by an air campaign by President Bashar al-Assad's government and its allies that has hit hospitals, destroyed infrastructure and caused hundreds of civilian casualties.
In the 15 days since the collapse of the ceasefire, war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had documented the deaths of 293 civilians in besieged east Aleppo as a result of air strikes and shelling. It also documented 25 deaths in government-held west Aleppo as a result of rebel shelling.
Another rebel commander from the Nour al-Din al-Zinki group said the army had opened several fronts simultaneously since the launch of a ground assault in order to stretch rebel forces, and had dropped leaflets from helicopters calling on them to surrender.
After securing the strategic Handarat camp in the northern edge of the city last Thursday following what rebels described as carpet bombing, the army pressed on south of the camp. It took the ruins of the former Kindi hospital, from where soldiers could control the Jandoul traffic circle, a major road intersection.
"They levelled the ground and our people had no choice but to retreat under the bombing of the Russians," the Zinki commander said.
In the Aleppo countryside, Russian and Syrian war planes dropped incendiary bombs on the towns of Darat Izza and al-Zirba today. Some of the hits were made with very powerful missile weapon, so observers say it was most definitely Russians.
The Russian embassy in Damascus was hit by mortar fire on Monday, a Russian foreign ministry statement said. According to the statement, two mortar shells exploded near the embassy and another hit the area close to an apartment block on the mission's territory. None of the embassy employees were injured.
The Russian foreign ministry said the shells had been fired from the Jobar neighborhood east of Damascus. Jobar is controlled by rebel groups Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and Failaq al-Rahman and mortars fired from there occasionally reach central Damascus.
"We see the shelling of the Russian embassy in Syria as the result of actions of those, who like the U.S. and some of their allies, provoke the continuation of the bloody conflict in Syria by flirting with militants and various kinds of extremists," the Russian ministry added.
Any other info or evidence on the accident is unavailable at the moment, but an Amman-based pro-opposition news agency Syrian Media Organization (SMO) published a video of this morning bombing of Damascus suburbs by Assad army Su-22 fighter-bomber.
A day before Doum, east of Damascus, was hit by Russian incendiary bombs.
Separately, rebels fighting Islamic State militants said they killed at least 30 militants after a failed attempt to gain ground in Eastern Qalamoun area, north of Damascus, where fighting has escalated in recent weeks.