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Toll rises as Syria regime bombs Aleppo

Syrian army helicopters have carried out new raids over the northern city of Aleppo dropping explosive-packed barrel bombs as they press a punishing aerial assault, a monitoring group has said.

BEIRUT: Syrian army helicopters carried out new raids over the northern city of Aleppo on Tuesday, dropping explosive-packed barrel bombs as they press a punishing aerial assault, a monitoring group said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported multiple barrel bomb attacks across rebel-held parts of the city, where 30 people were killed in similar raids on Monday alone.

The Aleppo Media Centre said one of the raids hit a school in the Masakan Hanano neighbourhood, and that children were among those killed.

There were no immediate details on the number of dead in Tuesday's raids, which came after another round of barrel bomb attacks on Monday killed 14 men, 13 children and three women.

Over the weekend, the Observatory said 85 people were killed in a single day of air strikes and barrel bomb attacks on Saturday.

The fierce air campaign has prompted an exodus of civilians from rebel-held areas in the east and north of Aleppo.

But fighting between rebels and jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant throughout Aleppo province has left those fleeing with few escape routes.

Some have fled to Turkey, while others are seeking to enter the government-controlled part of Aleppo, according to Rami Abdel Rahman, the director of the Observatory, a Britain-based group that relies on a network of activists and other witnesses inside Syria.

The Aleppo Media Centre said "people are fleeing in large numbers."

Some neighbourhoods "have become like ghost towns, with shops closed and residents leaving their homes."

The aerial assault comes as regime forces on the ground try to capture districts in the east and north of the city.

In recent months, the army has recaptured some territory in Aleppo province, including around Aleppo international airport.

Syria's second city and onetime commercial hub has been divided since a major rebel offensive in the summer of 2012, and much of the city's historic Old Town has been demolished in the fighting.

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