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Regime airstrikes move from east Aleppo to countryside in ‘escalating assault’

AMMAN: As the regime and Russia pause in bombing the […]

AMMAN: As the regime and Russia pause in bombing the rebel-held half of Aleppo city, its western countryside appears to be the latest target of dozens of airstrikes, activists and Civil Defense officials told Syria Direct on Tuesday.

Regime forces “greatly escalated their assault on Aleppo’s western countryside” after the opposition gained some ground in regime-held western Aleppo city on October 31, Ibrahim Abu a-Layth, an Aleppo Civil Defense spokesman, told Syria Direct on Tuesday.

This week, regime forces and Russian warplanes shifted their bombardment to the towns and villages dotting the opposition-held western Aleppo province in daily strikes against civilian targets, activists and Civil Defense volunteers said.

 The aftermath of Monday’s bombing of the west Aleppo countryside. Photo courtesy of Syrian Civil Defense.

“More than 75 people have been killed in recent days in the western Aleppo countryside,” Hussein Abu Ali, a Civil Defense volunteer in the western Aleppo village of Orem al-Kubra, tells Syria Direct.

Syrian state media outlet SANA did not mention increased bombardment over western Aleppo province. Instead, SANA reported on Tuesday that regime forces made gains in southwestern Aleppo city near a key cluster of military academies against rebel groups vying to break through encirclement of eastern Aleppo city.  

Residents and the Civil Defense say that this week’s bombings are specifically hitting civilian targets.

“The bombs targeted a textile factory and residential neighborhoods in [the village of] Orem al-Kubra, as well as a hospital in [another village] Hour and a bakery in al-Atareb,” said Civil Defense volunteer Abu Ali.

In Orem al-Kubra, a village west of Aleppo city which gained notoriety this past September after Russia bombed an aid convoy about to leave the village to deliver food and supplies to the countryside, residents are fleeing the wave of airstrikes.

In a village of 5,000 residents, Civil Defense volunteer Abu Ali says, most have left in recent days.  

“There are now only one thousand people remaining.”

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