September 23 – By Scott Lucas – eaworldview – President Assad’s warplanes have carried out intense bombing of Syria’s largest city Aleppo for a second straight night, as the Syrian military declared an offensive to take over opposition-held areas. Hamza al-Khatib, the director of a hospital in opposition-controlled eastern Aleppo, said 45 people were killed, with the Local Coordination Committee reporting the deaths of seven members of a single family.Rebel officials and rescue workers said incendiary bombs were used in the attacks, the heaviest in months.The Syrian military announced on Monday that it was ending a “freeze on hostilities” under a week-long ceasefire arranged by the US and Russia. Hours later, Russian SU-24 attack aircraft and regime helicopters attacked a UN aid convoy west of Aleppo.
“It’s as if the planes are trying to compensate for all the days they didn’t drop bombs” during the ceasefire, Ammar al-Selmo, the head of the civil defense rescue service in eastern Aleppo, said.Syrian state media announced a new offensive and, quoting the army, urging civilians to flee areas where “terrorists” were located.
The army repeated the Russian-regime line from late July, as a siege was imposed on eastern Aleppo that “corridors” were ready for those who want to leave, including rebels.
Residents and activists say the corridors were never established.
No Progress in New York Meeting
Meeting in New York on Thursday, foreign ministers of the countries in the 23-nation International Syria Support Group said they failed to find a way back to a ceasefire.
But US Secretary of State John Kerry said he was willing to keep trying if Russia came back with new ideas: “I am no less determined today than I was yesterday but I am even more frustrated.”
On Wednesday, Kerry told the UN Security Council that Russian and regime military flights over humanitarian areas must be halted. However, the Assad regime immediately rejected the statement as a “breach of sovereignty”.
“It was a long, painful, difficult and disappointing meeting,” UN envoy Staffan de Mistura summarized. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s response to the proposal for grounding planes as “not satisfying”. www.mesop.de