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Airstrikes kill 31 in Syria's Aleppo: monitor

Xinhua, October 17, 2016 Adjust font size:

At least 31 people were said to be killed on Sunday by airstrikes on rebel-held districts in Syria's northern city of Aleppo, a monitor group reported.

Warplanes carried out four airstrikes on the rebel-held neighborhoods of Qaterji, Sukkari and Bab al-Naser as well as other areas in eastern Aleppo, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

At least 10 families are struck under the rubble, which could likely raise the death toll, the UK-based watchdog group added.

The Observatory, which says it relies on a network of activists on ground, accused the government forces of being behind the airstrikes and the shelling.

Meanwhile, battles continued between the Syrian army and an array of ultra-radical rebel groups in the southern countryside of Aleppo, amid reports of a progress made by the government forces in the Khan Tuman area, according to the Observatory.

For its part, state news agency SANA said at least 29 rebels were killed by a military offensive against the rebel positions in the rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo.

On the international arena, the United States and its Western partners were mulling to impose sanctions on the Syrian government and Russia over the situation in Aleppo, where the West accuse the government forces and Russia of committing "war crimes."

Imposing sanctions is the "tool" the United States and the Western powers are seeking, instead of engaging in a war on the Syrian army in Syria.

"We are pursuing diplomacy because those are the tools we have," said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry following a meeting Sunday with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany in London.

"I do not see a big appetite in Europe for people to go to war," he said.

This comes amid heightened tension between Washington and Moscow over Aleppo, particularly after the Syrian government forces have tightened the siege on eastern Aleppo with the help of Russia, and urged the rebels there to surrender.

The U.S. and its allies want Russia and the Syrian army to halt their attacks on eastern Aleppo, while the Syrian government and Moscow want to dislodge the rebels out of that area.

Aleppo, located near the borders with Turkey, is Syria's largest city and once an economic hub. It has been a focal point of clashes between the Syrian army and the rebels. Endit