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Syrian Government Airstrikes Hit 5 Clinics in Rebel-held Areas

A Syrian man holds the body of his child after it was taken from under the rubble of destroyed buildings following a reported airstrike on the rebel-held neighborhood of al-Marjah in the northern city of Aleppo, July 24, 2016.

Syrian government airstrikes struck five makeshift hospitals Saturday in rebel-held areas, killing one infant and jeopardizing medical care for more than 200,000 civilians in rebel-held areas, according to a British-based human rights group.

The Observatory for Human Rights said the airstrikes disabled four clinics in the provincial capital of Aleppo and one in Atareb just west of the city.

Syrian government and allied forces last week surrounded rebel-held sections of Aleppo, which has been contested for four years.

The siege has reportedly created food shortages for residents in those the rebel-held areas.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports Syria was the most dangerous place in the world for health care workers in 2015. WHO says there were 135 attacks on health care workers and health facilities last year.

The Syrian government said on Sunday it was prepared to resume peace negotiations in an attempt to end the five-year conflict. The state News agency SANA quoted a foreign ministry official as saying, "Syria ... is ready to continue the Syrian-Syrian dialogue without any preconditions ... and without foreign interference, with the support of the United Nations.

The United Nations hopes to start a new round of intra-Syrian peace talks in Geneva next month, according to Syrian envoy Staffan de Mistura.

Peace negotiations broke down this year as fighting escalated.

The United States and Russia, which support opposing sides in the dispute, are discussing a U.S. call for closer military cooperation and intelligence sharing to fight extremist groups in Syria.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier this month the U.S. and Russia had agreed on steps to resume the process of restoring peace to Syria.

Some material for this report came from AP, AFP and Reuters.