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Syria Islamists renew shelling on Kurdish district in Aleppo, civilian casualties reported

ALEPPO – On Saturday, Syrian Islamist factions renewed their bombardment on the Kurdish district of Sheikh Maqsoud in Aleppo city, causing casualties among civilians.

At least four people were killed and over 15 others wounded, mostly women and children, after Syrian Islamist groups hit Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood with dozens of rockets and mortar shells, local activists told ARA News.

Al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, Islamic Movement of Ahrar al-Sham and other Islamist factions participated in bombing the Kurdish district on Saturday.

A spokesman for the Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG)–that are in control of Sheikh Maqsoud–told ARA News that the shelling continued until Saturday evening, “causing mass destruction to residential buildings beside killing and wounding twenty civilians”.

“Some of the injured are in critical situation. Civil defense volunteers are still searching for survivors under the rubble,” Kurdish civil rights activist Rezan Hiddo told ARA News in Aleppo.
Amnesty International calls for blocking of arms to Islamists attacking Kurds in Aleppo

Amnesty International said that armed groups attacking the Kurdish neighbourhood of Sheikh Maqsoud in Aleppo since February have killed at least 83 civilians, and called on Turkey, Gulf states and others to stop the transfer of arms to the Aleppo Conquest operations room–an umbrella for Syrian Islamist rebels.

“Armed groups surrounding the Sheikh Maqsoud district of Aleppo city have repeatedly carried out indiscriminate attacks that have struck civilian homes, streets, markets and mosques, killing and injuring civilians and displaying a shameful disregard for human life,” Amnesty said last week.

The organization has gathered strong evidence of serious violations from eyewitnesses, and obtained the names of at least 83 civilians, including 30 children, who were killed by attacks in Sheikh Maqsoud between February and April 2016.

More than 700 civilians were also injured, according to the local field hospital. Video evidence shows artillery shelling, rocket and mortar attacks carried out by the Fatah Halab (Aleppo Conquest) coalition of armed Islamist groups in the area, targeting the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) controlling the district.

“The relentless pummelling of Sheikh Maqsoud has devastated the lives of civilians in the area. A wide array of armed groups from the Fatah Halab coalition has launched what appear to be repeated indiscriminate attacks that may amount to war crimes,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

There are around 30,000 civilians living in Sheikh Maqsoud which is a predominately Kurdish part of Aleppo city.

Islamists Punish Kurdish Civilians

The Kurds in Sheikh Maqsoud suffer from the absence of many services as a result of the blockade imposed by Islamist rebel groups on their district, mainly by the Nusra Front (al-Qaeda branch in Syria).

Speaking to ARA News, Luqman Ismail, one of the stranded citizens in Sheikh Maqsoud, said that electricity outage continues for nearly three years because of the barbaric bombardment led by Islamist rebels on the main network of power outside the district.

“These groups are apparently punishing the people of Sheikh Maqsoud for their support to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), who are engaged in fighting with Islamist rebels around the city of Aleppo,” he reported.

“People now depend on power generators that work only 4-5 hours per day. We also suffer from the lack of fuel to run these generators,” Ismail added.

Reporting by: Shero Darwish

Source: ARA News

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