Air strikes in Syria’s divided city of Aleppo have killed dozens of people, according to a monitor, as fighting intensifies across the country despite UN appeals for greater humanitarian access and the resumption of peace talks.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday that Syrian government helicopters targeted the al-Mashhad neighbourhood in the rebel-held half of the city, killing at least 18 people.
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The Observatory added that the number of casualties was likely to rise due to the high number of people critically wounded.
Zouhir Al Shimale, an Aleppo-based journalist, said air strikes, including on a residential building, have killed at least 32 people over the past two days.
“Residents say the building was full of families [internally displaced] from other areas,” he told Al Jazeera by telephone.
Separately, at least 42 civilians were killed on Monday in Syrian government air strikes on al-Atareb, a city in the Aleppo province.
Aleppo has been roughly divided between government control in the west and rebel control in the east since mid-2012.
In recent weeks, government forces’ advances around the city’s outskirts have severed the only remaining route into the rebel-held eastern neighbourhoods, effectively placing them under siege.
“There are around 400,000 civilians in the besieged city of Aleppo on the brink of starvation. Just last Sunday, two days ago, the Russian and the Syrian regime air forces bombarded the six remaining hospitals and medical facilities in [the city],” Farah al-Atassi, of the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC), told Al Jazeera on Tuesday.
Syrian government air strikes over the weekend put five medical clinics in Aleppo out of action, according to local rescue workers and the Observatory.
On Tuesday, the general command of the Syrian army called on opposition fighters in eastern Aleppo to lay down their weapons, the government-run SANA news agency reported.
In text messages to civilians and fighters, the army urged residents to “join the national reconciliations and expel the mercenary outsiders from the areas where the citizens reside”, SANA added.