BEIRUT

Middle East

Blackout in Syria's Aleppo enters second week: activists

In this photo taken on Thursday April 24, 2014, and provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center (AMC), which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a Syrian man with a young girl, right, standing behind a building as white smoke risees from a government forces tank shell, in Aleppo, Syria. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center, AMC)

BEIRUT: Syria's Aleppo has been hit by a power cut for seven consecutive days, a monitoring group said Friday, the day after some 50 civilians were killed in air raids there.

Regime-controlled areas of the city and countryside "have been deprived of electricity for seven days, after the (rebel) Islamic court ordered high-tension power lines be cut off as a way to put pressure on the regime," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

That sabotage was also aimed at trying to stop the air force from dropping barrel bombs on Aleppo, the Britain-based group said.

Hundreds of people, mainly civilians, have been killed in a massive aerial offensive against rebel-controlled areas of Aleppo that was launched in mid-December.

On Thursday alone, at least 48 people, including seven children, were killed across Aleppo province.

Thirty of them were killed in an air raid on the market area of Atareb village, said the Observatory, updating an earlier toll.

Elsewhere, fresh fighting broke out in the southern province of Daraa, a day after 31 rebel and jihadist fighters were killed during the takeover of a strategic hill, Tal al-Jabiyeh, near besieged Nawa town.

The Observatory had earlier reported an unknown number of soldiers killed or taken prisoner.

Activists in the area said the takeover was significant because the hill had been used as a launching pad to bomb several rebel-held areas nearby.

Syria's war has killed more than 150,000 people in three years, and forced nearly half of the population to flee their homes.

The conflict broke out after the regime unleashed a massive crackdown against a peaceful movement demanding political change.

 

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