An offensive by Syrian insurgents aimed at the government-held part of the northern city of Aleppo has killed at least 74 civilians, including 25 children, an opposition monitoring group said Saturday.

The insurgents launched the assault eight days ago, hoping to break a months-long government siege on the rebel-held eastern part of the city, which has been subjected to months of devastating Syrian and Russian airstrikes. The insurgents have seized a district on Aleppo’s edge and a nearby village.

The Syrian military said the first three days of the rebel offensive killed more than 80 people. It was not immediately possible to reconcile the different figures.

Rights groups and the U.N. have sharply criticized the rebels over the shelling of western Aleppo districts, which has killed a number of civilians. Such criticism had mainly been focused on the government and its allies, accusing them of indiscriminate shelling and airstrikes on rebel-held areas.

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