2 pilots killed as warplane shot down in Aleppo

Damascus, Dec 4 (IANS) At least two pilots were killed as rebels in Syria shot down a warplane near the international airport of on Saturday, media reports said.

“One of the pilots was found dead while the other couldn’t be found yet,” Xinhua news agency quoted the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as saying in a statement.

This comes as intense battles were raging after the Syrian army captured the Tariq al-Bab neighbourhood, which enabled it to secure a road toward the airport.

Flights to Aleppo’s airport — which is being used as a military base — have for long been halted out of fears of rebel attacks on flights.

With the fresh advance, the Syrian army has become in control of nearly 60 per cent of the rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo, as part of a broad offensive the government forces unleashed to drive the rebels out of that key city.

The Observatory said 300 people have been killed in eastern Aleppo since mid-November. It added that 59 civilians were also killed as a result of the rebel shelling on government-controlled areas in the western part of the city.

Humanitarian organisations sounded the alarm about the situation of 250,000 people living in eastern Aleppo, with the government promising to fix the situation of those relocated in government-controlled areas.