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Civilian casualties as rebels fight back in Aleppo


10-29-2016 10:17 BJT

At least 15 civilians are dead after a rebel attempt to break the Syrian government's siege on parts of the city of Aleppo. The Russian death toll estimate is more than twice as high.

By dawn on Friday a rebel alliance spearheaded by al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, started a counter-offensive supported by a mortar barrage and suicide car bombs."

The radical groups said the driver of one of the car bombs was a French jihadist.

The Syrian state news agency, SANA, reported heavy casualties from rebel shelling.

A UK-based monitoring group said rebels fired "hundreds" of missiles at western Aleppo. The Russian military says the shelling killed more than 40 civilians and wounded nearly a hundred more.

Russia's defence ministry said it had asked permission from President Vladimir Putin to resume airstrikes against the rebels after a 10-day pause. Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told the Russian media that President Vladimir Putin denied those requests, saying it was, quote, "inappropriate at the present time."

All communications with government-controlled parts of Aleppo are reported to be down. Information is only getting through over military networks or expensive satellite phones.

A rebel source tells CCTV that jihadists have managed to make gains west of the city. The Syrian army didn't deny this, but called the advances insignificant. A Syrian Army field commander told CCTV that his units absorbed the first wave of the offensive. He said he lost a few posts in the process, but his troops quickly regrouped and held their positions.

This is the second large-scale attack by the rebels since August to break the government perimeter around the city. This counterattack has been spearheaded by a combined force of U.S. backed-moderates and radical groups, fighting side by side-a situation strongly condemned by Russia.

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