Aleppo, Apr 26: A barrage of air strikes and shelling on Syria's second city Aleppo and a town to its west have killed 25 civilians, emergency workers and a monitoring group said today. The attacks are the latest in a surge of violence in and around the city that has severely tested a February 27 ceasefire.
At least two male civilians died in rebel rocket fire on government-controlled areas in the west of the city today afternoon, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. In the rebel-held eastern parts, the air strikes and shelling came down "like rain", one resident told AFP.
15 civilians were killed in air strikes on several rebel-held eastern districts of Aleppo city, the civil defence, known as White Helmets, said. Another three civilians -- two women and a child -- were killed in government artillery shelling on another eastern neighbourhood, they said.
"The planes are bombing markets, residential areas... We're exhausted, we can't keep up," a civil defence worker said. Five of their own were killed when the White Helmets headquarters in the town of Al-Atarib, controlled by Islamist rebels, was hit by an overnight air strike, the group said on Twitter.
It was not immediately clear whether the strike on Al-Atarib, 35 kilometres from Aleppo, was carried out by the Syrian air force or its Russian ally. An ambulance and a fire truck, both damaged, were parked in the bombed-out headquarters, surrounded by rubble and twisted metal frames.
A civil defence worker in Aleppo city said he and his colleagues were afraid their local headquarters would also be targeted. Fighting has surged on several fronts in Aleppo province, which is criss-crossed with supply routes that are strategic for practically all of Syria's warring sides.
Once Syria's commercial hub, Aleppo has been divided between rebel control in the east and government forces in the west since 2012. In the rebel-held Fardos neighbourhood, an AFP correspondent saw a youth being helped down a rubble-strewn street with blood streaming from his head and leg.
Violence has rocked the city since Friday, with at least 100 civilians killed by artillery or rocket fire and air strikes. Yesterday, rebel shelling killed at least 19 civilians in government-held districts, the Observatory said.