Aleppo: Syrian regime air strikes and artillery bombardment Thursday on rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo killed at least 16 civilians, four of them children, a monitor said.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the assault came on the 10th day of an offensive by government forces to retake the east of Syria`s second city from the insurgents.
At least 172 civilians, including 26 children, have been killed since the assault was launched on November 15. Rebel fire has killed 16 civilians in the government-held west, including 10 children.
One of the worst hit areas on Thursday was Bab al-Nayrab, rescuers said, adding that the rebel district was targeted with a barrel bomb dropped by a government helicopter.
An AFP cameraman captured video footage of rescuers battling from more than one hour to pull a seriously wounded boy from the rubble of a building in Bab al-Nayrab.
The lower part of the boy`s body was stuck in the rubble and a bloodied gash could be seen at the back of his head as if part of the scalp had been ripped apart.
Rescuers from the White Helmet group used a pickaxe to hack away at the concrete in order to lift him out of the rubble, the footage showed.
The boy, who could be heard crying out "Father, Father" as he pleaded for them to hurry up and get him out, was lifted alive from the rubble.
"The operation took us an hour, an hour and a half... and there is still a woman trapped under the rubble," one of the rescuers told AFP.
Since November 15, government forces have pounded eastern Aleppo with air strikes, barrel bombs and artillery fire in a bid to retake that part of the city from insurgents.
More than 250,000 civilians have been trapped under siege for months in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, with dwindling food and fuel supplies.
Overnight Tuesday, dozens of civilians tried to flee but were forced back by gunfire, the Observatory said.
The government`s offensive has hit hospitals and rescue centres and forced schools to close.
Elsewhere in Aleppo province, at least seven people were killed, including two women and two children, in air strikes on the town of Binnish, the Observatory said.
An AFP correspondent at the scene said one house had been levelled by the air strikes.
More than 300,000 people have been killed since Syria`s war erupted in March 2011 with anti-government protests.