Last updated: 16 August, 2012

Army pummels Aleppo amid nationwide killings

The Syrian army pummelled districts across the embattled northern city of Aleppo on Thursday, leaving 18 civilians dead, while eight soldiers died in clashes with rebels, a watchdog said.

The violence, which nationwide left 34 dead so far on Thursday, followed a bloody day in which at least 172 people were killed across Syria including in an air strike in the northern town of Aazaz, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Britain-based watchdog reported shelling in several rebel-held districts in the northeast of Aleppo, which has emerged as the key battleground in the conflict that has now entered its 18th month.

Six civilians were killed in the rebel-held Shaar district, including two children and one woman, while another seven were killed in shelling on Tariq al-Bab neighbourhood, according to the watchdog.

And five people died in army shelling on Qadi Askar district, where at least five people were killed the day before, the Observatory said.

In southwest Aleppo, the army bombarded the flashpoint districts of Salaheddin, which loyalist troops recaptured last week, and the neighbouring district of Saif al-Dawla, which the regime is trying to take back from the opposition.

Clashes also broke out between the army and rebels in Salaheddin and Saif al-Dawla, while fighting in the centre of Aleppo left eight soldiers dead, the Observatory reported.

In Damascus province, five civilians were killed in shelling while three others died in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, bringing Thursday’s initial toll to 26 civilians and eight soldiers killed.

More than 23,000 people have died in Syria since the revolt against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad broke out in March 2011, according to the Observatory, while the UN puts the toll at around 17,000.