Russian strikes slow rebel assault in Syria's Aleppo

Opposition fighters fire shells from their position in Aleppo's southern countryside, towards regime positions on July 31, 2016The Syrian regime’s key ally Russia launched heavy air strikes overnight on the outskirts of divided Aleppo city, slowing a “last-chance” assault by rebels seeking to break a government siege. The assault began on Sunday and is intended to ease the encirclement of the opposition-held east of Aleppo city, where an estimated 250,000 residents have been under a regime siege since July 17. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights described it as the largest rebel attack in Aleppo since 2012, when fighting reached the city and left it roughly divided between the opposition control in the east and regime forces in the west.

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