Syrian regime forces seized ground from rebels north of Aleppo on Saturday, narrowing their siege on the city’s opposition-held east, as it came under violent air strikes in an offensive by the Russian-backed army.
The capture of the Handarat camp a few kilometres north of Aleppo marked the first major ground advance by the regime in an offensive that rebels say has opened first-time firepower against their half of the city which had been in their hands for years.
“Handarat has fallen,” an official with one of the main Aleppo rebel groups stated to media outlet.
Dozens of people have been reported killed in eastern Aleppo since the new offensive late on Thursday was announced, killing the chances of a ceasefire agreed on by the U.S. and Russia.
Residents of rebel-held eastern Aleppo say it is being subjected to the most fierce bombardment of the war.
At least four areas of the opposition-held east were hit by heavy air strikes, according to Rebel officials who said the strikes are mostly being carried out by Russian warplanes.
A senior official in an Aleppo-based rebel faction, the Levant Front, told media outlet that the weapons appeared designed to bring down entire buildings.
“Most of the victims are under the rubble because more than half the civil defence has been forced out of service,” he said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based organisation that reports on the war, said it had documented 47 deaths since Friday, including five children. Selmo said the toll was more than 100.
Observatory Director Rami Abdulrahman said the raids are intense and won’t stop.