Civilians killed in rebel western Aleppo city offensive

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Heavy rebel shelling of regime-held western Aleppo neighborhoods over the past two days killed 34 civilians and injured hundreds of others, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Tuesday, in what the group calls the largest massacre committed by rebel factions so far in Syria’s second city. Rebel forces working within the Aleppo Victory Army operations room launched more than 300 shells at regime neighborhoods after beginning a new offensive on Monday to take control of regime-held west Aleppo, pro-opposition AlSouria reported. The rebel coalition targeted the a-Rashideen neighborhood on Tuesday and “took control of a number of buildings stationed with Shia forces,” Ahmed Hamaher, spokesman for Harakat Noor al-Din al-Zanki, one of the rebel factions operating in Aleppo told Syria Direct on Tuesday. The goal of the new offensive is “to open the doors of western Aleppo city and liberate the [a-Rashideen] neighborhood in order to enter the heart of Aleppo from the west,” Hamaher added. Opposition fighters also took control of buildings in the Khalidiya, Ashrafiya, and Layramoun neighborhoods on Monday, Eldorar reported. Official regime news agency SANA confirmed the presence of ongoing military operations in a number of western Aleppo neighborhoods on Monday.