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Rebel rocket fire kills 3 civilians in Aleppo

They were the first casualties since a ceasefire took hold on Thursday in the Syrian battleground northern city

Published: Updated:

Syrian rebels on Sunday fired rockets into a regime-held district of Aleppo, killing three civilians and wounding 15, a monitoring group said.

They were the first casualties since a ceasefire took hold on Thursday in the battleground northern city where regime forces control western districts and the rebels are entrenched in the east.

The ceasefire is due to expire at 2101 GMT on Monday.

It comes as world powers push for a wider cessation of hostilities between rebels and regime forces and a resumption of UN-brokered peace talks.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a woman and a child were among the three civilians killed when the rebels rained rockets down on several districts of western Aleppo city.

Fighting in Aleppo flared up late last month, and more than 300 people have been killed in the violence.

Syria’s five-year war has killed more than 270,000 people and displaced millions.

Meanwhile, displaced families returned home and schools reopened in Aleppo on Saturday after the truce was extended for 72 hours in the city.

Residents trickled back into eastern areas of Aleppo, encouraged by a halt in the deadly violence, an AFP reporter said.

“I decided to come home after relatives told me it was calm,” father-of-six Abu Mohammed said.

“We left because it was carnage here. The air strikes were incredible,” said the resident of the rebel-held Kalasseh district.

The international community hopes that a drop in fighting can revive faltering peace talks to end a five-year war that has killed more than 270,000 people and displaced millions.

Schools in Aleppo’s east reopened on Saturday after staying closed for more than two weeks.

“There were many bombings so our parents got scared and stopped sending us to school,” one schoolboy told AFP.

A monitor reported rebel shelling of areas in western Aleppo but said there were no casualties.

Russia’s defense ministry said the truce had been extended “in order to prevent the situation from worsening” just minutes before an initial 48-hour truce was due to expire.

“The regime of silence in the province of Latakia and in the city of Aleppo has been extended from 00:01 (local time) on May 7 (2101 GMT Friday) for 72 hours,” a ministry statement said.