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Syrian rebels launch new Aleppo offensive
02:36 - Source: CNN

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At least 38 civilians killed in two days in western Aleppo, human rights group says

Rebels trying to expand territory they captured Friday from government forces

CNN  — 

Groups fighting the Syrian regime in Aleppo on Sunday intensified attacks on the government-controlled western section of the city.

Jaish al Fateh, an umbrella group that includes multiple rebel and Islamist factions, issued a statement Sunday declaring “military zones” in several neighborhoods in western Aleppo, the Aleppo Media Center, or AMC, activist group said.

Jaish al Fateh advised civilians to stay home or take refuge in basement shelters.

At least 38 civilians, including 14 children, have been killed in the last two days by rebel shelling of government-held parts of Aleppo, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, or SOHR. At least 250 other people were injured.

Rebels allied with jihadist groups on Sunday tried to expand their toehold of territory on the southwestern outskirts, which they captured in a Friday offensive against the regime.

Regime forces have fought back with intense shelling of opposition positions in an effort to regain the lost territory, according to SOHR.

A powerful explosion was heard in the western part of the city on Sunday, SOHR said. The AMC said the explosion was caused by a car bomb sent by opposition fighters.

CNN has been unable to independently confirm this information with residents because of an Internet outage in western Aleppo.

SANA, the state-supported Syrian Arab News Agency, quoted a military source who said Saturday that the government forces had established full control over the town of Minian at the southwestern outskirts of Aleppo.

The fighting in Aleppo came after Syrian government and allied Russian forces declared a unilateral ceasefire last week, which brought several days of relative calm after weeks of intense aerial bombardment.

But the ceasefire effectively ended October 23 when warplanes resumed bombing the city, according to residents.

Stephen O’Brien, United Nations emergency relief coordinator, said the bombing has killed 400 people in Aleppo during October.