A heavy bombardment of rebel-held east Aleppo entered a second day on Friday, hours after the Syrian military announced a major new offensive against the city that ended all talk of restoring a US-Russian ceasefire and raised questions over whether the it had been a tactical ploy by the Assad regime and its Russian sponsors.
Ammar al Selmo, the head of the civil defence rescue service in east Aleppo, told Reuters a fresh wave of bombing had started at 6am local time after heavy overnight attacks. “What’s happening now is annihilation,” he said.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the offensive appeared “aimed at taking bit by bit the eastern sector of Aleppo and emptying it of its residents.” Its head, Rami Abdel Rahman, said “Syrians are dropping barrel bombs and the Russian planes are launching strikes.”
The volunteer civil defence group known as the White Helmets said the strikes had hit three of its centres and put two out of action.