Syrian rebels target tunnel following regime 'massacre' in Aleppo

Syrian rebels target tunnel following regime 'massacre' in Aleppo
3 min read
11 July, 2016
Syrian rebels have launched an attack on regime-held districts of Aleppo, blowing up a tunnel under Assad militias.
Syrians look at the damage in the ancient Syriac Quarter of the regime-held area [Getty]
Tens of regime soldiers were killed after opposition fighters blew up a tunnel under a headquarters for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's militias in the area. 

The incident followed what activists described as a massacre in the village of Abyan, west of Aleppo, where 58 civilians were killed and wounded by Syrian regime aircraft. 

Syrian warplanes targeted homes in the village with rockets, killing around 18 people and wounding 30, most of them civilians who had been displaced from Aleppo and the northern countryside of Idlib.  

Syrian opposition fighters launched a major assault on regime-held districts of Aleppo city on Monday after the regime severed their only remaining supply route into the city.

The attack was accompanied by a barrage of rocket fire, which killed at least eight people.
The opposition offensive began at dawn, sparking heavy clashes between regime and rebel forces along the frontline that divides the government-held west and opposition-held east of Aleppo.

"Opposition factions launched a widescale attack on four fronts against the regime inside Aleppo city, including in the Old City," said Rami Abdel Rahman from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"There is currently fierce fighting underway, but the opposition has not advanced because of the heavy aerial bombardment the regime is carrying out on the areas where fighting is underway," he added.

There was no immediate toll for either side in the clashes.

The Observatory said rebels had also fired some 300 shells into western Aleppo since dawn, giving a toll of at least five dead in the bombardment.

State television said eight civilians had been killed and 80 people wounded in fire by "terrorist groups on residential neighbourhoods in Aleppo city".

Ahmed, a resident of western Aleppo, said the shelling had completely destroyed his home in the Syriac Quarter.

"The shells have rained down on the western neighbourhoods since 4:30 am," he told AFP.

Residents of the neighbourhood gathered in one of the affected areas on Monday morning, lifting debris and helping locals gather their belongings so they could leave in search of shelter elsewhere.

"The sounds of the fighting can still be heard and are very loud, and the shelling on the western neighbourhoods is ongoing," one said.

The assault comes a day after a failed rebel bid to push regime forces back from the key Castello Road supply route that leads into opposition-held Aleppo.
The route was the only remaining road into the east of the city, and was effectively severed on Thursday when regime troops took a hilltop within firing range.

The failed bid to push government forces back from the road killed at least 29 rebel fighters, said the Observatory.

Once Syria's economic powerhouse, Aleppo city has been ravaged by the fighting that began there in mid-2012.

The city has been divided between regime and rebel control since then, with the frontline inside Aleppo remaining mostly static.

Analysts estimate around 400,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests that were met with a fierce crackdown.

Agencies contributed to this report