Syrian rebels on Thursday launched a new wave of car bombs and rockets on Aleppo’s western districts, redoubling their efforts to break the government’s three-month siege of the city.
An AFP photographer said government-held districts had been quiet throughout the night, but that new clashes erupted on Thursday morning.
“Two car bombs hit Aleppo’s west to mark the beginning of a fierce offensive by rebel groups in a new attempt to advance,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.
The most intense fighting was in Halab al-Jadeedah, where rebels opened a fresh front on Thursday, said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.
“The rebels launched their attack from the (nearby village of) Minyan and have entered the edges of Halab al-Jadeedah,” he told AFP.
Yasser al-Youssef, from the powerful Nureddin al-Zinki rebel brigade, confirmed to AFP that rebels “began the offensive with two car bombs.”
“The fighters are now inside Halab al-Jadeedah. Street fighting is raging and ongoing,” he said.
Rebels and allied jihadists have fired rockets and dispatched more than a dozen car bombs since launching their assault last Friday.
They are aiming to break through government lines in the Hamdaniyeh district to reach the estimated 250,000 people besieged in Aleppo’s east.
Syrian state news agency SANA said three people were killed and another 35 wounded in heavy fire by anti-regime groups on several government-held districts, including Hamdaniyeh.
And it reported that eight people were being treated for suffocation after “terrorists fired poisonous gases” on Minyan village.
According to the Observatory, rebel rocket fire has killed 56 civilians, including 20 children, since the assault was launched Friday.
Once Syria’s industrial powerhouse, Aleppo has been ravaged by some of the worst fighting in the country’s five-year war.
It now lies divided between rebel forces in the east and government troops in the west.