At least 17 killed in Aleppo as rebels assaulted with machine gun fire

Dozens are believed to be injured in Eastern Aleppo

At least 17 killed in Aleppo as rebels assaulted with machine gun fire

Damaged structures are seen in the Syrian city of Aleppo | Image: UNHCR/Bassam Diab

At least 17 people were killed by heavy gunfire after hundreds of civilians trying to leave eastern Aleppo protested against the rebel blockade of exit routes, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

About a dozen more were reportedly rounded up and executed.

“The militants dispersed the demonstration, shooting at the protesters from a heavy machine gun and then mined all the approaches to the checkpoint and placed snipers on the roofs of nearby houses,” spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry Igor Konashenkov said, as quoted by Sputnik news agency.

Militants launched a hunt for the presumed organizers of the protests following the rallies, the ministry spokesman said.

“Terrorists detained about 10 men, who they held to be ‘organizers’ of the riots, and drove them away in an unknown direction. They were shot dead the same evening,” Konashenkov said.

Health officials in Aleppo say all hospitals have suspended services following "systematic targeting" of the cities' hospitals. A children's hospital was shelled yesterday, according to medical charity MSF.

The United Nations is also warning that people living in the besieged Syrian city now have no food or medical supplies left.

On Wednesday, the Defense Ministry’s spokesman said that about 1,500 civilians had taken to the streets of eastern Aleppo to protest against the militants’ occupation