Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat
al-Nusra) attacked the major northern city of Aleppo on Sunday, with mortar and rocket fire hitting several neighborhoods around Aleppo, killing at least 11 people.
Reports from Syrian state media were that six civilians were among the slain, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that a child was among the slain. A number of other civilians were also wounded in the salvos.
It isn’t clear what the target for the attack was, as several different neighborhoods across the sprawling city were struck, causing chaos in several areas. Al-Qaeda has not offered a statement on the matter.
This is likely to add to Syria’s desire to scrap the “safe zone” between Idlib and Aleppo and try to clean out the rebel-held territory outright. While the initial deal by Turkey and Russia was made with myriad rebel groups active within Idlib and tried to prevent a chaotic spillover into densely populated areas, al-Qaeda has long since seized most of that territory, and having never been a party to the deal, has just ignored the safe zone and used Idlib to attack neighboring areas.
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