BEIRUT (AP) — In a withering four-day air assault, the Syrian government pummeled opposition-controlled neighborhoods in the northern city of Aleppo, leveling apartment buildings, flooding hospitals with casualties and killing nearly 200 people.
Rebels said the unusually intense airstrikes prompted civilians to flee to the countryside and could portend a government ground offensive against the opposition-controlled half of the city, which has been divided for a year and half by grueling fighting.
The stakes are high in the battle for Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and a former commercial and industrial hub. For the government, wresting back control of the entire city would deal a devastating blow to the rebels’ morale and throw doubt on the opposition’s long-term hold on the vast territory in northern Syria it has captured during the past two years.
Since it began Sunday, the government air assault hammered more than a dozen neighborhoods.