AMMAN: Airstrikes pounded regime-encircled east Aleppo Sunday night and into Monday morning, destroying entire residential buildings amidst an air and ground campaign to wrest control of the opposition-held half of Syria’s largest city.
An alleged Russian airstrike killed 14 members of a single family in rebel-held east Aleppo’s al-Marjah neighborhood on Monday morning, local media and the Civil Defense reported. The ages of those killed range from an 18-month-old child to a 60-year-old man.
Russian state media did not report airstrikes in east Aleppo on Sunday or Monday.
The strike came as rescuers elsewhere in the city worked to dig out an unknown number of east Aleppo residents—both dead and alive—still trapped under the rubble after a night of intense airstrikes that the Civil Defense says killed at least 10 people.
The Aleppo Civil Defense rescues a boy in al-Qatarji on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Aleppo Media Center.
Over the past three and a half weeks, Syrian government and Russian aircraft have waged a massive aerial assault on the rebel-controlled districts of east Aleppo, killing hundreds of civilians. In recent days, the Syrian army has begun slowly carving away territory through a ground assault on east Aleppo.
An opposition military source in east Aleppo reported to Syria Direct on Monday “no regime advance” into important strategic positions there “despite the violent bombardment.” But pro-regime media is reporting the capture of several rebel positions in multiple opposition-held districts.
On Sunday, the Civil Defense reported that a handful of east Aleppo neighborhoods were struck by Russian warplanes using munitions including vacuum missiles and bunker busters, or bombs designed to penetrate into the ground before exploding, causing building collapses and destroying subterranean targets.
In east Aleppo’s al-Qatarji neighborhood, a bunker buster “brought down a five-story residential building,” Omar Arab, a citizen journalist currently in the neighborhood told Syria Direct on Monday.
Searching for survivors in the rubble on Monday. Photo courtesy of Aleppo Civil Defense.
Pictures and videos from al-Qatarji, posted online by the Aleppo Media Center on Sunday, show a young boy, his legs pinned in the wreckage of his home, dangling from the upper story of a building damaged by the airstrikes. He seems dazed as a member of the Civil Defense in a cherry-picker crane frees him.
The logo on the boy’s dusty green shirt, written in English, reads: “Don’t shoot.”
One resident of east Aleppo, a former factory worker who asked to be called Ahmad, said he is moving his family around the encircled eastern neighborhoods to avoid airstrikes.
“I’m constantly afraid that what we see happening to children every day will happen to my son and daughter,” Ahmad, a 32-year-old father of two, told Syria Direct on Monday, “that they will be trapped under the rubble.”
On Monday, Syrian state media reported “49 members of takfiri terrorist organizations killed and injured in operations by the army and armed forces” in Aleppo city.
Life in rebel-held east Aleppo today is “blood, missiles and constant bombing,” east Aleppo resident Ahmad told Syria Direct on Monday.
“That’s all we see.”