Russia's defense minister is accusing the Syrian rebels of massive shelling of residential areas in the city of Aleppo.

Sergei Shoigu said over 2,000 militants backed by dozens of tanks and armored vehicles have launched attacks on living quarters, schools and hospitals in the government-controlled part of the city. He also claimed the rebels blocked civilians from leaving the rebel-controlled neighborhoods, killing dozens.

The rebels in Aleppo began an offensive Friday to break the government's siege of the eastern part of the city, which has been under their control since 2012.

Shoigu said that a Russian moratorium on conducting airstrikes on Aleppo entered a 16th day Tuesday.