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Violence in northern Syria kills 23

At least seven children were among 23 killed on Sunday in northern Syria as pro-government forces kept up their campaign against opposition areas in the country's north, while rebels shelled a government-held district in Aleppo city.

At least another eight were killed in a suspected airstrike on a crossing point connecting Kurdish-held areas with rebel areas in northern Aleppo province, the Kurdish security force said.

The violence on Sunday comes a day after government troops repelled a rebel offensive on western parts of Aleppo city launched in late October.

State news agency Sana said the shelling of a western Aleppo district killed four, including two women and a child.

Aleppo has been deeply divided since 2012. The faltering rebel offensive was designed to break the siege on opposition-held eastern Aleppo.

The government siege left an estimated 275,000 people trapped, with no aid allowed in since July, amid a punishing bombing campaign.

The rebel offensive started after Russia, a major Syrian government ally, said it would halt airstrikes to allow rebels and supporters to leave eastern Aleppo.

The rebels refused to take up the offer and the United Nations failed to negotiate allowing in aid to the besieged area, amid wide anticipation of an imminent pro-government offensive.

Residents of eastern Aleppo on Sunday said that for days they got text messages urging them to leave in the next 24 hours. It was not possible to verify the authenticity of the messages or who sent them.

Government aircraft had previously dropped fliers on the eastern districts, also urging residents to leave and make use of the Russian-declared passageways to evacuate the besieged district.

Three residents said they received the messages on Friday and Sunday throughout the day, denouncing the opposition and threatening residents with an attack.

Later on Sunday, the Aleppo Media Centre and the Syrian Civil Defence in eastern Aleppo said artillery shelling by the government hit a car and killed 11 people, many of them children.

While airstrikes on eastern Aleppo city have subsided, aerial bombings of rebel-held western parts of Aleppo province continued.

The Syrian Civil Defence, which operates in opposition-held areas, said one of its centres was bombed in rural Aleppo and put out of service in airstrikes on Atareb town. The strikes also killed three people, including two children.



From Belfast Telegraph