Dozens of civilians were killed in Aleppo on Sunday as Russian and Syrian regime bombers pounded the besieged city of Aleppo, as residents and activists say that the scale of destruction wasn’t seen before.
Assad regime said on Thursday it was starting a new wide offensive to recapture the rebel-held parts of Aleppo after a week-long ceasefire was declared officially over on Monday. the offensive includes a ground assault, artillery bombardment, and intensive airstrikes.
Since last Monday, more than 260 civilians have been killed in rebel-held areas of Aleppo province, including the besieged eastern part of the city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday.
Intense air strikes toppled buildings and killed at least 91 civilians in Aleppo on Saturday, two days after the Syrian army announced an offensive to retake the rebel-held east of the city.
The Assad regime and Russia kept up the bombardment of rebel-held eastern Aleppo on Sunday, killing at least 50 people.
Extremely destructive bombs called the “bunker buster bombs” is used for the first time in Aleppo, causing extreme damage and increasing the death toll.
Local activists and medical officials said Sunday that in addition to the powerful bombs being referred to as bunker busters, they were being hit by phosphorus, cluster and barrel bombs.
Aleppo Civil Defense head Selmou said the “shape and destructive power” of the bombs used in Aleppo in recent days was new to him. “They destroy the underground shelters and shake the neighboring buildings, causing them to collapse,” he said.
Yasser Ibrahim al-Youssef, a political representative for the rebel group Nour al-Dine al-Zinki, said the attacks created craters 7 meters deep and 20 meters wide. The shock waves were being felt for about 10 seconds and destroying buildings up to 75 meters away, he said.
The attacks have reduced multistory buildings to a fine rubble within seconds, leaving rescuers combing through the rubble with their hands as if excavating artifacts from sand, according to rescuers and videos posted online.
“When any new weapon is used, we feel the difference immediately,” Hanaa al-Qassab, an east Aleppo resident and the head the Syrian Women’s Association based there told Syria Direct on Sunday. “These feel like an earthquake, the whole building shakes.”
“This is the most violent bombing of Aleppo city,” said Bashar Abu al-Laith, a journalist in regime-blockaded east Aleppo. “It’s complete annihilation.”
More victims than the doctors can handle
The massive three-day assault has overwhelmed the already-depleted medical and rescue infrastructure.
Only 30 remaining doctors are currently serving 250,000 people in east Aleppo, the Syrian American Medical Society reported on Friday.
“There are hundreds of injured people in the streets, in dangerous condition, some of them are being treated there,” Alaa al-Halabi, a citizen journalist in east Aleppo told Syria Direct on Sunday. “Others are moved to small houses serving as field hospitals. Those are overflowing too, with the dead and injured.”
“We do not have enough doctors to cope with such a high number of casualties,” said Ibrahim al-Hajj, a volunteer with the White Helmets, a rescue group that operates in rebel-held districts. He said more than 200 injured people are in makeshift hospitals.
Videos posted online by the Civil Defense show chaotic scenes from hospitals overwhelmed with more wounded people than they can handle, people lying—some unconscious—on bloodstained floors as doctors cut the clothes from their bodies.
“We’re working all day and night,” Jumaa Arab, who runs an independent ambulance network in east Aleppo told Syria Direct on Sunday. “We are always on high alert so we can cover the massacres, which are more than we can handle.”
The Assad regime forces has been tightening its grip on rebel-held districts of Aleppo this year, and this summer achieved a long-held goal of fully encircling the area.
Recovering full control of the rebels’ last significant urban area would be the most important victory of the war so far for Assad, strengthening his control over Syria’s most populous and strategically important regions.
The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.
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