Tue, Oct 11, 2016 - Page 6 News List

Syrian Civil War: No let-up to bombing of Aleppo

MEDICS’ PLEA:Medecins Sans Frontieres said just 35 doctors are left in Aleppo’s eastern areas, which have been the target of Syrian forces and Russian bombs

AFP, BEIRUT

Rebel fighters on Sunday ride on a pick-up truck mounted with a weapon in the northern Syrian city of al-Rai, in Aleppo Governorate.

Photo: Reuters

Syrian government forces kept up their blistering assault on rebel-held eastern Aleppo after a divided UN Security Council failed to agree on a truce to save the war-battered city, while Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) yesterday pleaded for access to treat the wounded in the eastern sector.

Regime forces and their allies were advancing street by street in the eastern sector, which has been out of government hands since 2012.

Clashes on the ground, as well as fierce airstrikes, went on all night and continued Sunday, especially in the Sheikh Said district, said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The army launched its assault on the besieged sector of Aleppo more than two weeks ago with the backing of Russian airstrikes, aiming to reunite the city, which was Syria’s economic hub before its conflict erupted in 2011.

Airstrikes and artillery fire by the regime and its Russian ally killed 290 people, mostly civilians and including 57 children, since the Sept. 22 launch of operations in Aleppo, the observatory said.

The Britain-based monitor, which compiles its information from sources on the ground, said 50 civilians, including nine children, have also died in rebel bombardment of regime-controlled western districts.

Syria’s official Syrian Arab News Agency on Sunday said that rebel shelling killed a baby and wounded two people in the Hamdaniyeh neighborhood.

MSF, which supports eight hospitals in the eastern quarters, said only 35 doctors are left serving in eastern Aleppo, amid an estimated population of 275,000.

The organization said that the medical workers in Aleppo are exhausted and facilities overstretched and facing an impending fuel shortage.

On Saturday at the UN, Russia vetoed a French-drafted resolution demanding an end to the bombing of Aleppo, but its own rival measure on a truce was rejected.

The failure of the two resolutions deepened divisions at the Security Council between Moscow and the Western powers backing rebel forces in Syria’s five-year war, which has killed more than 300,000 people.

It was the fifth time that Russia used its veto to block UN action on the war in Syria.

Shortly after Russia’s veto, the Security Council rejected a rival draft presented by Moscow that called for a ceasefire, but did not mention a halt to airstrikes.

British Ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft described Saturday’s failure in New York as “a bad day for Russia, but an even worse day for the people of Aleppo.”

French President Francois Hollande said in a TV interview to be broadcast yesterday that he would hesitate to receive Russian President Vladimir Putin when he visits Paris on Oct. 19 because of “war crimes” in Aleppo.

An analysis published on Sunday by the US-based IHS Conflict Monitor said that in the first quarter of this year, just 26 percent of Russian strikes in Syria targeted the Islamic State group.

That dipped to 22 percent in the second quarter, and 17 percent in the third quarter, the report said.

Additional reporting by AP

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