World Bulletin / News Desk
Russian and Syrian warplanes pounded Aleppo again on Thursday after two days of heavy bombardment that killed more than 70 civilians, as world powers prepared for last-ditch weekend talks on a ceasefire.
The ensuing surge in fighting saw government forces declare a large-scale offensive, backed by Russian and Syrian air power, to capture the opposition-held half of battered Aleppo.
More than 20 air strikes hit the rebel-controlled east at dawn on Thursday, killing seven civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.
On the northeastern outskirts of the city, advancing regime troops captured several hilltops overlooking opposition-held areas.
Syrian state television said four children were killed by rebel rocket fire on a school in a western regime-held neighbourhood.
Moscow has come under mounting international pressure over the rising civilian death toll from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's Russian-backed campaign to take east Aleppo, including Western accusations of possible war crimes.
Seven children were among 71 civilians killed in strikes and regime artillery fire on eastern districts on Tuesday and Wednesday, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.
Opposition shelling on government-held districts of the city, meanwhile, killed at least eight civilians over those two days, according to the British-based monitor, which relies on a network of sources on the ground.Last Mod: 13 Ekim 2016, 12:33