Photo courtesy Halab News Lens.

Regime warplanes have dropped at least 43 barrel bombs on Aleppo city and killed more than 100 people since Syria’s Grand Mufti called for the “total extermination” of areas outside of government control last Friday, the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights concluded in a report released Wednesday.

“The increase in frequency of the regime bombing on Aleppo is not just a result of the Mufti’s demands but also a result of the failure of [UN Special Envoy Staffan] De Mistura and Moscow,” Nabih Uthman, the Aleppo-based president of the pro-opposition Council for Free Engineers, told Syria Direct on Thursday, referring to the recent ceasefire negotiations in Russia.

Earlier this year, Aleppo rebels resoundingly rejected Staffan de Mistura’s efforts to negotiate a “freeze” in the fighting around Aleppo, while last week’s second round of negotiations in Moscow between a discredited opposition and the Syrian government also resulted in nothing tangible.  

“The regime wanted to send the message reminding the world of its strength, as well as the fact that Iran is still present, and that Iran will not give up [on Syria] like it gave up on the Houthis [in Yemen],” said Uthamn.

The attacks come in the wake of Grand Mufti Ahmad Hassoun’s demand for the “annihilation” of areas used to launch attacks on regime positions in Aleppo city last Friday via state television and a widely circulated audio clip.  

SNHR called the Mufti’s demands a “deliberate crime” and noted that following Hassoun’s fatwa would result in the deaths of millions of people. Nearly 90 percent of the people killed in this week’s attacks have been civilians, according to the SNHR report.

On Wednesday, a regime chopper dropped a barrel bomb inside Aleppo, Syria’s second city, killing five more residents, reported the pro-opposition Aleppo Media Center.

The city of Aleppo has been site of fierce contestation since the beginning of the war.

More recently, regime and opposition forces have struggled for control over the last rebel supply line into the city from the northeast.