Syrian rebels launch operation to break Aleppo siege
Fighters say they have pushed back Assad forces, as Russian helicopter shot down over Idlib province
Rebel fighters in Aleppo have launched a major military operation aimed at breaking a weeks-long regime siege of the opposition-controlled eastern part of the Syrian city.
About 250,000 civilians are believed to be living in the rebel-controlled territory, and their plight has led to growing international alarm. The area has been subjected to a brutal aerial bombing campaign from the forces of Bashar al-Assad and his Russian allies, which has destroyed several of the last hospitals in the area.
A Russian helicopter was shot down about 25 miles south of Aleppo on Monday morning, killing all five people on board. The defence ministry said the Mi-8 was returning to Russia’s Latakia airbase after delivering aid to the city.