Regime ally Russia carried out its heaviest strikes in days on Syria’s Aleppo on Tuesday, as at least five children were killed in rebel fire on a school in the war-torn country’s south.
The raids killed 16 civilians, a monitor said, and caused massive damage in several residential areas of the city’s rebel-held east.
Russian President Vladimir Putin meanwhile cancelled a planned trip to Paris in a row over the violence in Syria, where Moscow is helping President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in an operation to recapture all of Aleppo.
Syria’s army announced a bid last month to retake the city, which has been divided since mid-2012.
The assault began after the collapse of a short-lived truce negotiated by Washington and Moscow, and has seen the besieged east of the city come under fierce aerial assault.
The army said last Wednesday it would reduce its bombardment, after days of bombing that killed hundreds and destroyed the largest remaining hospital in the rebel-held east.
But an AFP correspondent and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported renewed heavy bombing on today.
“This is the heaviest Russian bombardment since the Syrian regime announced it would reduce the bombardment” last week, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.
The 16 dead, among them four children, were killed in raids in the Bustan al-Qasr and Fardos neighbourhoods, the Observatory said.
An AFP correspondent in Bustan al-Qasr saw a multi-storey residential building that had been destroyed, its facade sheared off in the air attack.
Members of the White Helmets rescue force pulled two lifeless toddlers from the building and wrapped them in white sheets.
Footage by the Aleppo Media Centre activist group showed a toddler, blood smeared across her face, lying on a hospital bed.
An older man near her is wailing in pain as a team of medics bends over him, calling out instructions to the nurses.
The Britain-based Observatory—which relies on a network of sources inside Syria for its information—says it determines what planes carried out raids according to their type, location, flight patterns and the munitions involved.
Backed by Russian air raids, government forces have been advancing street by street into rebel-held parts of Aleppo.
At least 290 people, mostly civilians, have been killed by government or Russian fire since the operation began, according to the Observatory.