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Russian war planes struck rebel held areas north of Aleppo on Saturday as the army shelled the besieged old quarter in a major offensive, rebels and a monitoring group said. The air strikes focused on major supply lines into rebel-held areas - the Castello Road and Malah district - while fighting raged in the Suleiman al Halabi neighborhood, the front line to the north of Aleppo's Old City. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based group that monitors the war, reported heavy bombardment by government forces and "back and forth" fighting in the Suleiman al-Halabi neighborhood.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte refused to back down Saturday over his stated desire to slaughter millions of people, as global condemnation built against him likening his crime war with Hitler's efforts to exterminate Jews. Facing a fierce international backlash, Duterte's spokesman released a statement insisting the president did not want to be compared with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler but confirmed he was prepared to kill three million people in his crime war. "We do not wish to diminish the profound loss of six million Jews in the Holocaust," presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
By Dmitry Solovyov and Ellen Francis MOSCOW/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Russia is sending more warplanes to Syria to ramp up its air campaign, a Russian newspaper reported on Friday, as the United States said diplomacy to halt the violence was "on life support" but not dead yet. Fighting continued to intensify a week into a new Russian-backed Syrian government offensive to capture rebel-held eastern Aleppo and crush the last urban stronghold of a revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that began in 2011. Moscow and Assad spurned a U.S.-Russian brokered ceasefire agreed to this month and launched attacks on rebel-held areas in Aleppo in potentially the most decisive battle in the Syrian civil war.