Russia launches new crippling air raids on Aleppo

Russia launches new crippling air raids on Aleppo
Intense bombing of rebel-held areas of Aleppo has resumed as UK MPs consider whether to investigate possible Russian war crimes in Syria.
2 min read
11 October, 2016
Moscow and Damascus briefly reduced aerial attacks on Aleppo last week [Anadolu]

Russian forces returned to their intense aerial bombardment of rebel-held eastern Aleppo on Tuesday, after several days of relative calm, local residents have said.

"It was pretty calm in the previous few days, said Abd Abu al-Nasr, a resident of Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr district told The New Arab.

"But this morning it was pretty bad again, with warplanes, cannon and artillery shelling our neighbourhood. At least eight died, including two children. Now the bombing is still all around us and the warplanes are still flying".

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the reports of bombing while local journalist Zouhir al-Shimale placed the death toll from the air raids at 50.

Another resident living in the city's Ferdous neighbourhood reported that the bombing hit an area close to a sprawling residential area. Following the attack, all local schools and shops were closed.

Last week, the Syrian regime and its Russian ally appeared to scale down air raids on Aleppo after hundreds were killed in a week of intense bombing.

According to the Syrian regime, this lull in violence was to allow civilians to "escape" from rebel-held neighbourhoods.

Damascus has claimed that opposition fighters in the city will be allowed to leave with their families if put down their weapons, but opposition groups have dismissed the offer as "trickery".

The Syrian regime has made it a key aim of recapturing Aleppo, and a stronghold of anti-Assad sentiments.

Russia has carried out airstrikes on the city and recently built up its forces in Syria following the collapse of the recent ceasefire which broke following the bombing of an aid convoy.

Moscow's air campaign in Syria has drawn heavy international criticism, including accusations of war crimes.

On Tuesday, the UK Parliament convened in an emergency debate on the humanitarian situation in Aleppo. This meeting saw several British lawmakers call for alleged Russian war crimes to be investigated.

"The case against Russia and Syria is clear and backed by firm evidence. The UK government must add its weight to calls already being made by France and the US for an ICC [International Criminal Court] investigation," said Welsh nationalist MP Hywel Williams.

"Plaid Cymru voted against bombing Syria. We were told that such bombing would be carefully controlled to exclude danger to civilians, but it is clear that neither Russia nor Syria are taking such precautions.

"Indeed, it seems as though they specifically target civilians. Taking them before the ICC for such actions would therefore be consistent with UK policy on air strikes."