Rebels in Syria’s second largest city were on Monday coming under intense aerial bombardment from forces loyal to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, less than two days after they fought through regime lines to break the siege of rebel-held east Aleppo..
Activists say intense airstrikes have continued unabated after rebels seized Ramouseh, a district in south-west Aleppo, allowing them to open a corridor into the besieged areas.
“We are in our trenches but there are insane airstrikes of unprecedented ferociousness,” a commander in the rebel coalition told Reuters. “The regime is using cluster and vacuum bombs.”
Over the weekend, rebels in a coalition known as Jaish al-Fatah launched a lightning advance that sealed the conquest of Ramouseh, a key district through which supplies flow to government forces in west Aleppo. The advance followed a rare show of unity among the opposition, which began a campaign a week ago involving thousands of fighters working to break the siege.
The coalition includes Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra, which last month said it was severing ties with al-Qaida’s central command and played a key role in the battle.
Aleppo has been a battleground since 2012, when it was stormed by the opposition and divided into a regime-controlled western half and an east under rebel dominion. The east has been left in ruins, pummelled in an unforgiving aerial campaign by the Assad regime.