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Seven civilians were killed and nine wounded Wednesday in a rocket attack in Aleppo, Syria's state-run news agency said, hours after the United Nations warned of an unprecedented "humanitarian catastrophe" in the city.
Fighting for control of Aleppo, split between its government-held west and rebel-held eastern neighborhoods, has intensified in recent weeks — causing hundreds of deaths and depriving many civilians of power, water and vital supplies. Twenty civilians were killed there Tuesday, according to rights groups.
The death toll continued to climb on Wednesday. SANA, Syria's state-run news agency, said Wednesday's casualties occurred when rockets fired by rebel groups struck the Salaheddine district of the city.
Aerial bombardment of Aleppo continued Wednesday, and clashes took place between rebel and regime forces in southwestern districts, according to the U.K-based Syria Observatory for Human Rights.
Earlier, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Russia and the U.S. to quickly reach a deal on a ceasefire.
"In Aleppo we risk seeing a humanitarian catastrophe unprecedented in the over five years of bloodshed and suffering in the Syrian conflict," Ban told the U.N. Security Council Tuesday in his latest monthly report on aid access, seen by Reuters.
Meanwhile, Russia's Defense Ministry said its warplanes took off from a base in Iran for the second day for airstrikes it said were targeting ISIS in Syria.
The ministry said its jets took off from a base southwest of Tehran, to strike targets in the east of Syria. It said they destroyed two command posts and two training camps.
Iraq also said Wednesday it would give permission for Russian fighter jets to use its airspace for future raids.
Sa’ad Al-Hadithi, spokesman for the Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi, said: “Al-Abadi gave his permission to the Russians in order to use the Iraqi airspace in launching strikes against ISIS militants groups in Syria, although the Iraqi government did not receive an official request from the Russians.”