At least 56 killed in Syria’s Aleppo as Russian air raids resumed

News Hour:

At least 56 people have been killed over the past 24 hours in the Syrian province of Aleppo as Russian air raids resumed over the countryside, sources told Al Jazeera.

The deaths from raids in Aleppo’s Bustan al-Qasr and Fardous neighbourhoods, as well as Ar-Rasheeqa city, were the results of the heaviest Russian bombardment in days on the city’s rebel-held sector, people in the city said. Dozens were also wounded, reports Aljazeera.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based group that monitors the war through a network of informants in the country, reported a lull in fighting on Wednesday.

“Silence is taking over Aleppo city. So far no gunshots or air strikes have been heard, since the air strikes,” the monitor said.

The latest bout of violence came as diplomatic efforts to stop the war intensified. Al Jazeera has seen a letter signed by at least 62 countries, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, calling on the UN Security Council to prevent further deaths from a “calculated campaign”.

The letter warns that the war in Syria is unlikely to be resolved by armies. It calls on all parties to adopt political processes for a political transition based on recommendations agreed upon in Geneva conventions and at the Security Council.

“The fighting, the bombardment and the siege have worsened conditions inside Aleppo,” said Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, reporting from the Turkish border with Syria.

“The United Nations is warning that drinking water remains limited, medical supplies are urgently needed and the distribution food rations are being split in half … aid agencies are appealing for access to treat the wounded.”

Separately, Turkey’s military said the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group was putting up “stiff resistance” in Syria’s north to attacks by Turkey-backed rebels.

Turkey crossed the border two months ago in what it said was an attempt to drive ISIL fighters away from its frontier. Supported by Turkish tanks and air raids, the rebels have been pushing towards the ISIL stronghold of Dabiq.

“Due to stiff resistance of the [ISIL] terror group, progress could not be achieved in an attack launched to take four settlements,” Turkey’s army said, naming the areas east of the town of Azaz as Kafrah, Suran, Ihtimalat and Duvaybik.

The operation to drive the fighters away from the Turkish border, dubbed “Euphrates Shield”, was in its 50th day on Wednesday. The Turkish-backed rebels have seized control of about 1,100 square kilometres (425 square miles) of territory from ISIL since the operation began, the military said.

In a daily round-up of information from the battlefield, it said 19 ISIL fighters had been “neutralised” in clashes, while eight Turkish-backed rebels were also killed. Twenty-two rebels were wounded but Turkish forces did not suffer any casualties.

Turkish fighter jets destroyed five buildings used by ISIL, while US-led coalition jets “neutralised” 28 of the fighters and destroyed three buildings, it said. The operation has also targeted a Kurdish group whose presence along its border Turkey sees as a threat.

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have died in the war, which has gone on for five years and forced millions of people from the country.

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