BEIRUT — The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):
A Syrian military official says airstrikes and shelling in the northern city of Aleppo might continue for an extended period and will include a ground offensive.
The unnamed military official was quoted by Syrian state media on Friday as saying that operations in rebel-held eastern parts of the city “will include a ground offensive.”
The military announcement came as a bombing campaign in rebel-held districts of Aleppo city intensified Friday, targeting several neighborhoods and centers of the award-winning volunteer civil defense group known as the White Helmets.
The intense bombing and the declaration of a new offensive come as diplomatic efforts failed to salvage a cease-fire that lasted nearly a week, before giving way to a new level of violence.
A Syria monitoring group and a rescue worker say an intense bombing campaign has targeted several neighborhoods in the rebel-held part of Aleppo city, including centers of the award-winning volunteer civil defense group known as the White Helmets.
The air campaign late Thursday night and Friday morning comes as Syria’s military command announced it is launching operations in Aleppo’s rebel-held eastern quarters, raising concerns of imminent ground operations.
Rami Abdurrahman, of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Friday that government troops seized buildings on the frontline, pushing back rebel fighters in the southern al-Amiriah district.
Ibrahim Alhaj, a member of the Syrian Civil Defense, confirmed the government troop movements. He said the bombing targeted two civil defense centers Friday morning in rebel-held Aleppo, putting one out of service.