x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Syria crisis: Aleppo clashes rages through the night

Activists also report battles in the Palestinian Yarmouk camp in Damascus.

A masked opposition fighter poses inside the Shaar district police station in Aleppo yesterday.
A masked opposition fighter poses inside the Shaar district police station in Aleppo yesterday.

ALEPPO // Battles raged through the night and into roday in Syria's second city Aleppo, a monitoring group said, as activists reported clashes in the Palestinian Yarmouk camp in Damascus.

The battles in Aleppo followed a day of heavy fighting there and came after Syria's regime rushed reinforcements to the city, where rebels on July 20 launched an all-out assault for control of the country's commercial hub.

"There are clashes in the Muhafaza district and shelling on the Mushhad and Sheikh Badr neighbourhoods, which killed a child and injured seven people," the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Aleppo's Salaheddin neighbourhood, scene of fierce fighting for days, was also bombarded by regime troops during the night, the group said.

The Observatory also reported 19 civilians and three rebels killed in Aleppo fighting yesterday but did not give a separate toll of soldiers killed in the city.

Despite the fighting, there were "mass demonstrations in the Furqan, Ashrafiyeh and New Aleppo districts calling for the fall of the regime and the departure of President Bashar al-Assad," it said.

Several rural villages and towns in the Aleppo province were being shelled by the Syrian army.

In Damascus, street battles were being fought on Thursday in the Palestinian Yarmouk camp in the south of the capital, the Observatory said.

"There are clashes on Street 30 in the Yarmouk camp between Syrian regime forces and fighters from rebel units. Explosions can be heard," it said.

A resident of the camp reached by phone confirmed the fighting.

"It started at 7am. The night was quiet. They are using RPGs and heavy machineguns," he said.

After a week of heavy clashes in Damascus, activists say regime forces have largely regained control of the city, with only a few pockets of rebel resistance remaining.

An activist in the southern neighbourhood of Tadamun, who gave his name as Abu Qais Al Shami, said several districts in the southern part of the city were under assault on Thursday by regime forces.

"Last night was quiet but people woke up to the sound of explosions and shelling from seven o'clock in the morning," he said.

Aside from Yarmouk, the neighbourhoods of Tadamun and Al Hajar Al Aswad were also being shelled, he said.

"Tanks have been deployed on Street 30 [in Yarmouk], where there are also a large number of snipers. Some people have been killed and dozens of wounded have been taken to the Basil Hospital," he said.

The Observatory also reported fighting in Deir Ezzor in the east of Syria, where it said two people were killed overnight, including one shot by a sniper.

In an updated toll today, the Observatory said 143 people were killed throughout Syria yesterday, including 75 civilians, 41 soldiers and 27 rebel fighters.