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Warplanes pound rebel-held areas of Aleppo

dpadpa 22/09/2016

Rebel-held areas of eastern Aleppo have been bombed mercilessly despite a ceasefire effort.

Rebel-held eastern Aleppo city was bombarded by airstrikes overnight, activists and a monitoring group said Thursday, despite a call by US Secretary of State John Kerry for warplanes in the area to be grounded to give a ceasefire effort "credibility."

"The raids were very intense overnight on eastern Aleppo," Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said.

More than 200 raids were carried out, according to Ibrahim al Hajj, a spokesman for the White Helmets, a rescue group operating in rebel-held areas of Syria.

"The whole city was on fire during the night," al Hajj said.

It was unclear who exactly carried out the air strikes, but activists blamed Syria and Russia.

A ceasefire brokered by the US and Russia collapsed on Monday, after largely holding for a week, when Syrian planes began attacks on rebel-held areas. A UN aid convoy was struck, killing 21 people and forcing a halt to all humanitarian assistance operations.

The US government blames Moscow for the attack on the convoy, though both Russia and Syria deny it. Kerry is still keen to reinstate the ceasefire, despite pessimism voiced by top Russian officials, but Moscow and Damascus must abide by the terms.

"I believe that to restore credibility to the process, we must move forward to try to immediately ground all aircraft flying in those key areas in order to de-escalate the situation and give a chance for humanitarian assistance to flow unimpeded," Kerry said on Wednesday.

"And if that happens, there is a chance of giving credibility back to this process."

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