BEIRUT (AP) -- Activists and state media say a Syrian government airstrike on a heavily contested neighborhood in the northern city of Aleppo has killed at least five people, while mortar rounds slammed into a residential district in Damascus, leaving at least one person dead.
Aleppo and Damascus are Syria's two largest cities and key fronts in civil war between President Bashar Assad and the rebels trying to overthrow his regime. Opposition fighters have managed to seize control of several neighborhoods in Aleppo since storming the city last summer. Meanwhile the regime has largely kept the rebels at bay so far in Damascus, although opposition fighters control several suburbs of the capital and look increasingly capable of threatening the heart of the city -- and Assad's power.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says today's air raid hit a neighborhood of Aleppo (Sheikh Maqsoud) seized by rebels last weekend after days of heavy fighting with regime troops. The neighborhood sits on a hill on the northern edge of Aleppo, overlooking much of the city. It provides those who control it a vantage from which to strike the other side with mortars and artillery.