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Assad Forces Commit Massacre in Aleppo - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Beirut- The Syrian regime has intensified its military operations in northern Syria and Aleppo, killing and injuring scores of civilians.

Agence France Presse reported that Syrian regime forces killed 31 civilians, including 6 children, in air and missile strikes on eastern neighborhoods that are under the control of opposition factions in Aleppo.

But the opposition reported the death of 62 civilians during the last 12 hours.

For the first time since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011, Aleppo and Idlib governorates cancelled Friday prayers. Judicial authority in both governorates asked civilians not to attend the prayers due to the intensity of the airstrikes.

Meanwhile, a source at the Civil Defense confirmed the death of 21 civilians due to airstrikes on Aleppo neighborhoods, while 10 others were killed in an airstrike that targeted a bus on al-Castello road.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that regime warplanes hit the bus on the road linking Aleppo’s southern countryside with its northwestern countryside. SOHR also said that armed opposition forces shelled areas under regime’s control.

Opposition activist Hadi al-Abdullah said that the Syrian regime targeted civilian neighborhoods during the last three days. Al-Abdullah told Asharq Al-Awsat that the regime is intentionally targeting civilian areas as the number of civilians killed during the past 12 hours reached 62.

Al-Abdullah believed that the intensity of the attacks can only be viewed as the regime’s attempt to pressure the Higher Committee for Negotiations (HNC) to return to the Geneva talks according to its conditions.

He revealed that the opposition believes that the regime has been granted a green light by the U.S. and international community to execute the massacres.

Consequently, besieged Mare’ city witnessed intense clashes between fighting factions and ISIS. Also, two explosions were heard on the outskirts of the city. Opposition commander told Reuters that the U.S.-led coalition air-dropped weapons to the fighters in the town.

Activist Hadi al-Abdullah described the coalition’s step as “shy” saying that these weapons are not enough and won’t change much. He asked the coalition to pressure their allies, Syrian Democratic Forces, to open a humanitarian corridor to allow the entrance of humanitarian aid and evacuate injured civilians.

Not very far from Aleppo, Fatah Army started its battle in Aleppo’s southern countryside and, according to a source in the opposition, was able to liberate some areas from the Iranian militias.

Since Tuesday, ISIS and Kurdish majority Syrian Democratic Forces have been clashing in Manbij’s southern and southeastern countryside.

SOHR also revealed that the Syrian army, backed by the Russian Air Force, advanced towards Raqqa. A Syrian army source told Reuters that reports of targeting Raqqa are just speculations, admitting at the same time that Raqqa and Der Ezzor, under ISIS control, are possible targets.