Air raids on Syria’s Aleppo as end of cease-fire nears

BEIRUT (AP) — Multiple air raids struck rebel-held areas while shelling hit government-controlled parts of the northern city of Aleppo Monday, hours before a five-day cease-fire was to expire, two opposition monitoring groups and Syrian state media reported.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committee said the airstrikes hit several areas in Aleppo, including the neighborhood of Rashideen. Monday’s airstrikes came a day after opposition fighters shelled the government-held neighborhood of Midan, killing a child, state media and activists said.

The violence Monday came hours before a five-day cease-fire was to expire just after midnight.

Russia and the U.S. last week reached an agreement to extend Syria’s cease-fire to Aleppo, which had seen several days of heavy fighting that killed 286 civilians, including 57 children, according to the Observatory.

Opposition activists also reported air raids and shelling on the town of Khan Touman, just south of Aleppo, which was captured Friday by insurgent groups including al-Qadia’s branch in Syria known as the Nusra Front. The battle left at least 13 members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards force killed as well as troops and pro-government gunmen.

The town was captured by a coalition known as Jaish al-Fatah, or Army of Conquest, an ultraconservative group led by the Nusra Front, and the jihadi militias Jund al-Aqsa and Ahrar al-Sham.