Fighter jets pounded rebel-held areas of Aleppo with dozens of airstrikes early Friday, local activists and rescue groups said, as prospects of reviving a cease-fire looked increasingly grim.
The Syria Civil Defense service — known as the White Helmets — said three of its four facilities in the east of Aleppo were “deliberately targeted” in a wave of raids that started at 6 a.m. local time (11 p.m. Thursday ET).
“What’s happening now is annihilation,” Ammar al Selmo, the head of the service in Aleppo, told Reuters.
The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 30 air strikes had hit the city of 250,000 since midnight, causing “a number” of deaths and injuries. It did not give further details.
A U.S.-Russia brokered cease-fire had lasted around a week but unraveled following a deadly strike on a United Nations aid convoy and resumption in violence.
Syria’s military on Thursday said it would restart bombing raids in the area, urging civilians to “stay away” from locations and facilities tied to rebel groups.
The new offensive coincided with a testy meeting about Syria in New York between key players — including Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov — ended without an agreement.
A senior White House official described the two-and-a-half hour meeting as “pretty contentious” and said it was hard to see a return to the cease-fire while Syria’s government conducts its raids in eastern Aleppo.
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SOURCE: NBC News, Alastair Jamieson and Ziad Jaber and Gabe Joselow and Cassandra Vinograd