17:16 Oct. 28, 2016
Syrian rebels in Aleppo unleash car bombs, mortar and 'Grad' attacks in massive offensive against Assadites
Rebel fighters launched a new offensive in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Friday, unleashing a series of deadly car bombings and mortar attacks on government-held positions aimed at breaking the siege of rebel-controlled eastern neighborhoods, CNN reports.
Opposition social media showed videos of rebel tanks, armored personnel carriers, grad rockets and artillery firing from the southwest of the city, in an apparent attempt to break through Syrian government offenses from the outside of Aleppo. They call it 'a mother of all battles.'
"The whole city can hear the clashes, it is very huge," a resident in a government-controlled part of the city told CNN on condition of anonymity.
Control zones around Aleppo before the rebel offensive (by IHS)
At least 15 people were killed and more than 100 others were wounded when hundreds of mortar rounds showered down on several residential neighborhoods in regime-held areas of western Aleppo, the UK-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said in a statement.
Clashes are continuing in several areas on the outskirts of western Aleppo between Syrian forces and various rebel groups, according to SOHR.
Earlier on Friday, Jabhet Fateh al-Sham fighters carried out three car bombings targeting regime forces in the southwestern outskirts of Aleppo, according to the SOHR, which said there were many killed and wounded from the bombings but could not provide an exact number yet.
Some say that was suicide bombings, but rebels claim they were remote controlled.
The rebel attack comes after Syrian government and allied Russian forces declared a unilateral ceasefire last week, which brought several days of relative calm after weeks of intense aerial bombardment.
But the ceasefire effectively ended Sunday when warplanes resumed bombing the city, CNN tells referring to residents.
Eastern Aleppo has been under a government siege for months. Syria and its ally Russia have recently intensified air strikes on the east, BBC informs.
Todays attacks are so far coming from rebels outside Aleppo but it is understood that rebels inside the city will join the offensive.
"All the revolutionary factions, without exception, are participating in the battle," the military spokesman for the Fastaqim faction inside the city said, AP news agency reports.
Rebels fired Grad missiles at al-Nayrab, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) monitoring group said. Up to 115 people were killed or wounded, it added.
The rebels said this counter-attack would come. But even though disparate groups have united for this effort, "liberating" East Aleppo won't be easy.