Syrian regime forces roll back rebel gains in Aleppo

The world body has said that almost 250,000 civilians are under siege in eastern Aleppo as rebels who control the area fend off Syrian, Russian, and Iranian-backed forces.

Rebel fighters made advanced slightly in their attempts to break the siege on Aleppo, seizing new territory in the city's south, the Observatory said.

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said on Wednesday that the government had been launching a counterattack on areas captured by rebels in the past two days.

Rebels of the Syrian opposition initiated the offensive by carrying out two auto bomb attacks on regime checkpoints at the entrance of the artillery base in Aleppo, and then launched dozens of mortar shells targeting Syrian army headquarters inside the base.

The Observatory said 50 rebels and allied jihadists had been killed since the assault began, as well as dozens of regime troops.

The groups waging the offensive - including militants from Al Qaeda's former Syria affiliate and the powerful Islamist Ahrar Al Sham - have promised to end the government encirclement of eastern parts of Aleppo.

After capturing the strategic Castello Road last month, which had served as a vital supply route for opposition forces in Aleppo, the regime has been making inroads into the besieged city in preparation for an all-out ground assault.

The observatory said at least 30 civilians had also been killed since Sunday in opposition bombardment of government-held southwestern districts of Aleppo.

Syrian state media said on Tuesday that five people were killed and that eight others suffered injuries induced by suffocation after rebels fired rockets containing poison gases.

Last year, hundreds of thousands of refugees headed toward the Turkish-Syrian border following offensives by the regime forces of Syria's Bashar Assad against western Aleppo, which has continued for weeks with the support of Russian airstrikes.

Seven people died and more than 20 were hospitalized in an attack Tuesday, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

"Since June, we've seen increasing reports of attacks on civilians in Aleppo and strikes on the region's remaining medical infrastructure", the group's director of programmes Widney Brown said in a statement.

The warning came as yet another hospital in Aleppo was hit overnight, with the M2 facility run by the Syrian American Medical Society bombed for the third time. He was speaking after a weekly meeting of the Syria humanitarian taskforce, and a week after Russian Federation wrongfooted the unveiling a plan for humanitarian corridors and the evacuation of Aleppo's civilians.

But the official said there was growing confidence it was such an attack, and that chlorine was likely used. The last delivery to reach those trapped in rebel-held parts of Aleppo - where the United Nations estimates some 300,000 residents remain - was in June, he said.

Many hospitals have been hit or damaged during the five-year conflict.

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