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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Friday, July 20, 2018

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Aleppo, already in ruins, faces fresh attacks by rebels as Putin holds back on Russian raids

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed

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ALEPPO, Syria - Rebel factions, reportedly backed by the former al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria moved ahead with their plans to launch a major assault in Syria’s Aleppo that has been under siege by the Syrian regime. > Big News Network

Opposition fighters unleashed a barrage of rockets on the government-held western side of the divided city on Friday as they announced a major offensive aimed at reopening vital supply lines.

"In just a few days, we will open the way for our besieged brothers," rebel commander Abu Mustafa told AFP.

Aleppo, that is currently in ruins was seized by the government three months ago and holds a total population of 250,000 people.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that at least 18 people were killed by fighting and bombing at the capital.

Aleppo has been the centre of assault since 2011, with government and non-government forces fighting each other. A total of 300,000 have been killed since then.

Abu Yusef Muhajir, a military commander and spokesman for the Ahrar al-Sham faction stated that the rebel groups “announce the start of the battle to break the siege of Aleppo.”

He also said that rebel groups “will end the regime occupation of western Aleppo and break the siege on the people trapped inside.”

A teacher, Ghalia Samao was quoted as saying, “There are no buildings here now that have escaped damage, so much has changed in the last three months - all buildings left standing are devastated, cars are burned, there's broken glass everywhere.”

On Friday, Kremlin announced that Putin did not find the time right to continue airstrike in Aleppo after the defense ministry requested for the airstrikes to be halted.

The U.S. denied Kremlin’s claim and stated, “Despite Russia's claims, attacks by the regime and its backers have continued in Aleppo. We continue to look at Russia's actions, not their words to determine if Russia is meeting their claims about their military intervention on behalf of the Assad regime.” 

With Syria already being caught up in a major storm, U.S., on Friday, accused the Bashar al-Assad led country of using “starvation as a weapon of war.” 

U.S. has for long accused the Syrian government and its Russian backers of attacking parts of the country - the Geneva Convention has meanwhile accused the government of war crimes. 

The U.S. disregarded Kremlin’s claim that the wars have stopped, saying, “The regime has rejected UN requests to deliver aid to Eastern Aleppo - using starvation as a weapon of war.”

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