After a three-week lull, Syrian and Russian warplanes on Tuesday resumed their bombing of rebel-held eastern Aleppo as humanitarian agencies fear the beginning of a major new government offensive on the northern Syrian city.
The attacks hit multiple neighborhoods in Aleppo, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Quoting activists from the Aleppo Media Center, CNN reported that one woman was killed and five people injured when a barrel bomb was dropped from a helicopter.
The Syrian regime began its push to retake control of eastern Aleppo in September with the help of Russian warplanes. In recent days, a flotilla of Russian ships has arrived off the coast of Syria to help with these attacks.
At the same time the airstrikes resumed in Aleppo, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that Russia has launched missile strikes against Islamic State group militants in other parts of Syria, using jets flying from the Admiral Kuznetsov.
The intensified offensive by Russia comes just hours after President Vladimir Putin spoke on the telephone with President-elect Donald Trump, during which they discussed “regulating the conflict in Syria,” according to a Kremlin spokesperson.
“It’s all airstrikes and parachute bombs. Today, the bombing is violent. There hasn’t been this kind of attack in more than 15 days,” civil defense official Ibrahim Abu al-Laith told Reuters.
Activist Baraa al-Halaby, who is based in eastern Aleppo, told AP via text message that warplanes are firing missiles and helicopters are dropping barrel bombs on the eastern part of the city.
On Monday, CNN reported that residents of eastern Aleppo received a text message on Sunday warning them that they had 24 hours to leave the city before a “strategically planned assault using high-precision weapons” would begin.