Damage from barrel bomb in Aleppo's district
Damage from barrel bomb in Aleppo's district Reuters

Schools in rebel-held areas of Syria's Aleppo city will be closed for at least a week after bloody air raids on civilian areas, a monitor and activists said Monday.

On Sunday, an air strike on a school in the city's opposition-controlled east killed five children, three women teachers and a man.

The rebel education authority in Aleppo called on schools and teaching centers to suspend their classes until the end of the week, according to a statement distributed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

It said the decision was made "out of concern for the safety of students and teachers, because the criminal regime is targeting gatherings, schools, and institutions." 

An opposition activist at the Aleppo Media Centre confirmed to AFP that all schools in rebel-held parts of the city were closed "until further notice."

"The 135 schools as well as the markets are all closed," said the activist, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

On Sunday, bloodstains and debris marked the entrances of the bombed-out school, and broken desks and glass were strewn across classroom floors.

"People are more afraid than usual and there are dozens of families who have fled to refugee camps in Turkey or are internally displaced in Aleppo," the activist added.

According to him and the Britain-based Observatory, Syria's regime has intensified its aerial campaign against opposition-controlled areas in the city.

"For two months, the army didn't make a single real breakthrough on the battlefield," said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

"So it's trying to compensate by intensifying bombardments of rebel areas," he said.

Once Syria's economic powerhouse, Aleppo has been divided into government control in the west and rebel control in the east since shortly after fighting began there in mid-2012.

Rebels regularly fire into the regime part of the city, and have also been accused by rights groups of indiscriminate bombing.

President Bashar al-Assad's regime has suffered several setbacks in recent weeks, losing control over the northwestern city of Idlib, as well as a crossing along the border with Jordan and an ancient village in the south.

More than 215,000 people have been killed since the beginning of Syria's conflict in 2011.