The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has accused forces loyal to Bashar Al-Assad of a new wave of violence against Aleppo and the surrounding area. The organisation says that 553 people have been killed in the past 19 days; among the dead were 158 children and at least 35 combatants.
"During the same period, at least 16 fighters from the 'Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant' were killed during raids by government warplanes and helicopters," said the human rights group.
The organisation quoted "reliable sources" which accuse Brigadier Sohail Hassan of the Syrian army, known as "the Tiger", of being responsible for giving the orders to bomb the city of Aleppo and the countryside around it. Explosive barrels have been dropped, claiming hundreds of lives and causing considerable damage to properties. The attack is part of an attempt by the army to gain control over areas controlled by opposition forces.
"We have been working to collect documents which prove Hassan's involvement in the massacres caused by the explosive barrels," said the observatory. "We will submit the evidence to international courts to hold those responsible to account."