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Syrian forces advance as UN decries Aleppo's 'living hell'

Aleppo: On Sunday Syrian regime forces advanced in Aleppo after Russia unleashed dozens of air strikes, as the UN's top aid official decried the "living hell" suffered by residents in the city's rebel-held east.

The devastating five-year war in Syria has ravaged second city Aleppo, once the country's economic hub but now torn apart by fighting between government troops and rebel forces.

The army of President Bashar al-Assad announced a major push on 22 September to capture Aleppo's opposition-held east and has gained ground in the city with the help of ally Moscow.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Dozens of air strikes pounded multiple battlefronts in the city throughout Sunday but lessened as evening fell, AFP's correspondent said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebel groups and regime forces exchanged artillery fire in several neighbourhoods across Aleppo.

The Britain-based monitor said Russian raids "helped regime forces to advance in the north of the city," where they reached the outskirts of the opposition-held Al-Heluk district.

One person was killed in bombardment there, the Observatory said.

If loyalist fighters seize Al-Heluk, Bustan al-Basha and Sakhur — all rebel-controlled neighbourhoods in Aleppo's north — they will confine opposition factions to a small section of the city's southeast.

Assad's Russian-backed military campaign in Aleppo has sparked international outrage, particularly after two barrel bombs hit the largest hospital in the city's east on Saturday.

United Nations aid chief Stephen O'Brien fiercely criticised the attack on the M10 hospital, and called for immediate action to end the "living hell" of civilians in Aleppo's east.

"The health care system in eastern Aleppo is all but obliterated. Medical facilities are being hit one by one,"
O'Brien wrote.

O'Brien said the latest indiscriminate bombings subjected residents to "a level of savagery that no human should have to endure.

"The clock is ticking. Stop the carnage now," he added.

At the bombed hospital on Saturday, an AFP journalist saw bloodstained beds and dented equipment lying in disarray beneath blown-out windows.

M10 had already been hit on Wednesday along with the second-largest hospital in the area, M2.

That bombardment badly damaged the two facilities and left only six fully functional hospitals in east Aleppo, according to the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), which supports the facility.

Updated Date: Oct 03, 2016 08:20 AM

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