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At least 52 killed in govt offensive on eastern Aleppo: Observer

The Syrian government announced an all-out offensive to take Aleppo on Thursday night, since when scores have died. Photograph: (AFP)

Reuters Beirut, Lebanon Sep 24, 2016, 11.06 AM (IST)
At least 52 civilians were killed on Saturday in the Syrian government's offensive on the rebel-held eastern areas of Aleppo city, a monitor said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the toll was expected to rise because people were trapped under rubble.

The ceasefire brokered by the US and Russia has collapsed, and the Syrian military announced a new offensive to recapture the city on Thursday. Scores of people have been killed since then. 

There was massive destruction in several neighbourhoods, including Al-Kalasseh and Bustan al-Qasr, where some streets were almost erased by the bombardment, AFP reported.

At least 47 people were killed on Friday in heavy bombing, the Observatory reported. Seven of those killed were children. Reuters reported Hamza al-Khatib, head of a hospital in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, saying that 91 people had died in Friday's bombardment. The air strikes razed buildings, including several bases of the civil defence organisation White Helmet. The group has only two fire engines left for all of east Aleppo, AFP reported, and is struggling to get around the city. 

Meanwhile, government forces siezed the rebel-held Handarat camp north of Aleppo in the first ground offensive on Saturday. The rebels had controlled the camp for years. 

"Handarat has fallen," an official with one of the main Aleppo rebel groups told Reuters. An army statement confirmed a "large number of terrorists" have been killed, Reuters reported. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)
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