PHOTO: Explosion of a vehicle bomb in the New Aleppo district, west of Aleppo, on Thursday morning

UPDATE 2015 GMT: Pro-opposition activists are offering contrasting reports about the rebel attacks on the 3000 Housing complex.

One says the rebels pulled back after inflicting more than 200 casualties among pro-Assad forces, but others say that the rebels still hold captured buildings.

UPDATE 1445 GMT: Footage of a third suicide vehicle bomb by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, this time inside the 3000 Housing Complex:

Rebels preparing to go into the 3000 Housing area:


UPDATE 1440 GMT: Correspondents on the rebel frontline taunt each other as they run, “Coward….You have left your macho moustache behind”:

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Rebels have launched the start of the second stage of their offensive west of Aleppo, seeking to break the Russian-regime siege.

The Free Syrian Army and other units said the operations began on Thursday morning with rockets and shelling of the 3000 Housing Complex and the New Aleppo district. Two suicide vehicle bomb have been detonated in New Aleppo.

The FSA claims that it has already broken the first line of defense in New Aleppo, taking “several blocks”. Ground assaults are reported on the 3000 Housing area, which rebels briefly entered at the start of the offensive last weekend.

State news agency SANA is claiming that 12 people were killed and more than 200 injured by attacks on regime-held neighborhoods.

A report from the frontline by Muath Al-Shami, with the smoke of a vehicle bomb and firefights in the background:

A correspondent for the pro-Assad Iranian outlet al-Alam, Hossein Mortada, admits a large attack but insists that it is “life as usual” in New Aleppo, with rebels halted at the nearby village of Minyan.

Mortada’s cameraman Mohammd Joulaq was later injured in the fighting in New Aleppo.

However, the pro-regime Al-Masdar News is acknowledging the loss of part of New Aleppo, while headlining its concern, “No Russian Air Presence in Aleppo Despite Massive Jihadist Attack”.

In the first phase of the offensive, begun last Friday, rebels took almost-complete control of the neighboring 1070 Housing Complex and the Dahiyat al-Assad suburb.

See Syria Daily, Oct 31: Pro-Assad Forces Try to Hold Back Rebel Offensive in Aleppo

Rebel fighters at the outset of today’s operations: