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Heavy, systematic shelling and air raids pound east Aleppo Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Heavy, systematic shelling and air raids pound east Aleppo

The UN imposed ceasefire broke down after regime forces shelled rebel positions [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 December, 2016

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Airstrikes and shelling hits east Aleppo as the terms of the UN-brokered ceasefire are broken almost immediately early Wednesday morning.
Heavy airstrikes and shelling by regime forces hit Aleppo neighbourhoods on Wednesday morning as the UN-organised ceasefire appeared to have been ignored almost entirely.

Turkey's President Erdogan accused the Syrian regime of war crimes, as heavy shelling and gun-battles continued in areas that are heavily populated by civilians.

"The situation is very bad today, we're experiencing extremely heavy bombing in east Aleppo," said Ibrahim Abu Leith, a spokesperson for Syria's Civil Defence.

Refugees, who had been waiting for UN-organised buses to evacuate them from the fighting, have retreated back indoors to seek refuge from the bombing.

One anonymous civilian in the neighbourhood of al-Zabadia told The New Arab that bombing was "systematic" and that Iranian militias were "storming through" the neighbourhood.

The UN imposed ceasefire broke down on Wednesday morning after regime forces shelled rebel positions, amid delayed plans to evacuate civilians and rebels from east Aleppo.

Turkey's foreign minister said that forces loyal to the Syrian regime were responsible for the breakdown of the ceasefire.

"What we're saying now is that the regime is working with a number of other groups to obstruct the implementation of the agreement," said Mevlut Cavusoglu.

A number of reports from various rebel groups has referenced the "complete absence" of Syrian forces in the city.

Russia's defence ministry blamed the rebels for breaking the truce, saying that regime forces had responded to an attack.

"The attack by the terrorists was warded off. The Syrian army continued its operation to liberate the eastern districts of Aleppo controlled by the rebels," the defence ministry said in a statement.

Shia militia soldiers, reportedly Iranian, prevented civilians and rebels from exiting the city and attacked civilian areas with missiles.

"The Iranian militias prevented injured women and children from evacuating," said Abd al-Salam Abd al-Razzaq, spokesperson for the rebel group Nur ad-Din Zenki.

Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday morning he expected rebel resistance to last not more than a few days.

"I hope that in the next two to three days the situation in Aleppo will be resolved," Russia's Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov as saying.

Numerous accounts and videos have emerged which confirm that shelling resumed in various areas of Aleppo where rebel fighters were located.

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