Syrian regime launches offensive on rebel-held Aleppo
The Syrian army on Thursday evening launched a new military offensive against rebel-held eastern Aleppo, only days after the end of a fragile US-Russian brokered ceasefire.
"The military operations command announces the start of operations in eastern districts of the city and calls on residents to stay away from the positions of terrorist groups," it said in a statement carried by state news agency SANA, using the regime's term for rebels.
The announcement came as the United States and Russia convened a last-ditch meeting in New York to save their Syria ceasefire plan and followed several hours of intensive bombardment that left Aleppo in flames.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said earlier that bombardment and airstrikes since Wednesday night targeting the rebel-held neighbourhoods of Bustan al-Qasr and Al-Kalasseh had triggered "massive fires".
Activists say at least 12 people have been killed in presumed government or Russian airstrikes and shelling on the eastern quarters Thursday.
A spokesman for the Nour al-Din al-Zinki rebel faction in the city said government forces have not been able to make any advances in the city in the last 24 hours.
Since the collapse of the Russian-US brokered truce on Monday night, fighting has resumed on all major battle fronts in Syria's war, now entering its sixth year.
According to the United Nations approximately 400,000 people have died in Syria's civil war.
Statistics from the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimate the Syrian regime is responsible for 94.6 percent of all civilian deaths due to bombing, shelling, sniper fire, and sieges.
Agencies contributed to thie report