Syrian army captures second rebel district in Aleppo

The Syrian military has announced it had taken control of a second residential district of the rebel-held eastern part of Aleppo city in two days, as government air strikes continue to target opposition areas of the country leaving over a dozen people dead.  

The army said it and allies had taken full control of the Jabal Badro district on Sunday, a day after capturing Hanano, a neighbouring residential district.

The capture of Jabal Badro comes as activists reported tens of civilian casualties from a presumed government or Russian air strike on a village outside Aleppo.  

The Local Coordination Committees activist network in Syria reported 15 civilians killed in a Russian air strike on Sunday on the village of Anjara, controlled by the opposition in the western Aleppo countryside, and tens of others wounded.

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Activists usually identify planes by their silhouettes and home base.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strike was accompanied by raids on other opposition-held villages in the Aleppo countryside.

Al Jazeera’s Osama bin Javaid, reporting from Gaziantep on the Turkey-Syria border on Sunday, said the Syrian government’s strategy of using “brute force seems to be working.”

He added that the fall of Jabal Badro and Hanano could have “domino effect” on other parts of the besieged city. 

As the government offensive continues in opposition neighbourhoods of the city, around 400 people have fled to areas under government control, the monitoring group said on Sunday.

An additional 30 families fled to Sheikh Maqsoud, which is under Kurdish control, it added.

Syrian state media also reported that hundreds of families had vacated areas under rebel control.

Al Jazeera’s bin Javaid said civilians continue to flee the besieged part of the city.

UN officials say at least 250,000 people remain in the besieged area of Aleppo [Reuters]

“Thousands have fled the Hanano neighbourhood and other areas near the frontlines towards the central parts,” he said.

“But the air strikes in the last 13 days have relentlessly targetted anything that moves, be it ambulances or rescue workers. Hospitals have been destroyed and people have very little food and medicine.”

‘Too many are dying’

Aleppo, which was Syria’s biggest city before the start of a civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, is divided between the government-held west and rebel-held east, where UN officials say at least 250,000 people remain under siege.

Capturing all of Aleppo would be a major victory for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after five and a half years of fighting.

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The Lebanese Al-Manar TV channel reported from Aleppo on Sunday morning, showing workers and soldiers clearing debris against a backdrop of bombed-out buildings on both sides of the street.

Al-Manar is a media outlet affiliated with Hezbollah, the Lebanese armed group aligned with the Syrian government.

As the fighting continues, the UN’s child agency warned on Sunday that nearly 500,000 children were now living under siege in Syria, cut off from food and medical aid, mostly in areas under government control.

That figure has doubled in less than a year, UNICEF said, and many are now spending their days underground, as hospitals, schools and homes remain vulnerable to aerial bombardment.

“Children are being killed and injured, too afraid to go to school or even play, surviving with little food and hardly any medicine,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.

“This is no way to live — and too many are dying.”

Source: Al Jazeera News and Agencies