BEIRUT (Reuters) - Insurgents bombarded a government-held part of Syria’s second city Aleppo overnight, killing at least five people, a group monitoring the war said.
State TV broadcast pictures showing heavily damaged buildings and streets strewn with rubble in the Suleimaniyah district of Aleppo, a city near the border with Turkey which is split between government and rebel control.
State media put the confirmed death toll at eight and said dozens more people were trapped under rubble. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based organization that tracks the war, said the number of dead was likely to increase.
Syria’s Grand Mufti Ahmed Badr al-Din al-Hassoun, speaking on state TV, urged the complete destruction of insurgent-held areas from which shells were being fired.
“We inform the civilians there, be they supporters (of the insurgents), or not, to leave the area. Every area from which a shell is fired, should be completely destroyed,” he said.
Aleppo is a major front line in the Syrian war. Insurgent groups in and around the city have repelled repeated attempts by the Syrian military and militia fighting alongside it to cut supply lines from Turkey to the rebels.
State news agency SANA described the insurgents behind the attack as hardline Islamist militants “linked to the Erdogan regime”, a reference to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan who wants to see President Bashar al-Assad removed from power.
Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Louise Ireland