Rebel attacks in Aleppo kill 84 civilians – Xinhua

DAMASCUS, Nov. 1 — At least 84 civilians have been killed and 280 others wounded since the rebels unleashed a major offensive in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo, the Syrian army said in a statement Monday.

The high number of causalities came as the rebels fired over a hundred mortar shells, 50 Grad missiles, and 20 explosive-laden cylinders on government-controlled areas in western Aleppo, said the army in a statement, carried by state news agency SANA.

The army also mentioned the gas attack the rebels unleashed on a military academy and residential areas in western Aleppo on Sunday, saying 48 people suffered suffocation and breathing difficulties.

Over the past three days, Aleppo has witnessed the most intense military showdown since the conflict reached Aleppo four years ago, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The broad rebel offensive aims to break the government forces’ siege on rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo.

The rebels succeeded in infiltrating the Assad suburb area in western Aleppo and the town of Menyan, but the army on Sunday recaptured Menyan and said it had besieged the rebels who infiltrated the Assad suburb area.

The Syrian army has laid siege on rebel-held areas in Aleppo in recent months, urging the rebels to surrender themselves or leave eastern Aleppo to other rebel-held areas in the northwestern province of Idlib.

The rebels mostly ignored the repeated requests for them to leave. Last week, a three-day truce, declared by the government to help facilitate the evacuation of civilians and rebels who want to surrender in exchange for pardon, expired with only a few civilians and rebels making it across the designated “exit routes.”

The Syrian government accused the rebels of preventing the civilians, around 250,000, as well as rebel fighters from leaving.

Observers believe that Aleppo is going to be the decisive battle ground among the fighting groups, and the winner will be the one dictating its conditions to resolve the crisis, as the province contains all the groups that are supported by regional and international powers, with the civilians paying the price for this proxy war. (Xinhua)

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