Syrian opposition seize strategic hospital in Aleppo

Rebels gain control over Kindi hospital located near the city's besieged central prison

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Syrian opposition fighters gained control of a strategic hospital near Aleppo, despite days of persistent air strikes targeting rebel-held areas in the northern city, activists reported on Saturday.

The five-story Kindi hospital is located near Aleppo’s besieged central prison, which opposition fighters have been trying to capture for months to free their comrades, the Associated Press reported.

The rebels took control of the hospital on Friday, according to two activist groups - the Aleppo Media Center and the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Those who overran the hospital included both conservative Muslim groups and al-Qaeda linked factions, Aleppo-based activist Abu al-Hassan Marea said, according to AP.

The battle to gain control of the hospital claimed the lives of at least 35 rebels, activists said.

It was not clear how many soldiers were killed.

A rights group said Saturday that Syrian regime forces are launching a concentrated offensive on Aleppo, killing hundreds of people in air strikes that were either "criminally" indiscriminate or "deliberately" aimed at civilians.

"Government forces have really been wreaking disaster on Aleppo in the last month, killing men, women, and children alike," said Ole Solvang, senior emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch.

"The Syrian Air Force is either criminally incompetent, doesn't care whether it kills scores of civilians - or deliberately targets civilian areas," Solvang added.

The HRW statement comes six days after the launch of a massive aerial campaign against opposition-held areas of Aleppo, once Syria's commercial capital, involving dozens of warplane strikes and helicopter attacks using barrels packed with explosives.

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