Syr­ian raids kill dozens

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Sus­pected Rus­sian air strikes have killed at least 46 peo­ple in op­po­si­tion-held parts of Syria, a mon­i­tor said, as the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil pre­pares to vote yes­ter­day on a res­o­lu­tion de­mand­ing a tem­po­rary cease­fire in Aleppo. Syria’s govern­ment is wag­ing a fierce of­fen­sive to re­cap­ture all of sec­ond city Aleppo, and it has so far cap­tured more than 60 per­cent of eastern dis­tricts that fell to rebels in 2012. In Idlib prov­ince, in north­west Syria, at least 26 civilians were killed in sus­pected Rus­sian strikes on the town of Kafr Na­bel, the Bri­tain-based Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights mon­i­tor said.

An eye­wit­ness told AFP war­planes hit sev­eral places in the town, in­clud­ing a mar­ket. The Ob­ser­va­tory says it de­ter­mines whose planes carry out raids ac­cord­ing to their type, lo­ca­tion, flight pat­terns and the mu­ni­tions in­volved. The group said 18 peo­ple were also killed in sus­pected Rus­sian strikes on the town of Maaret Al-Nu­man, where an AFP pho­tog­ra­pher saw rescue work­ers and res­i­dents try­ing to pull sur­vivors from rub­ble at a mar­ket.

The mon­i­tor re­ported two ad­di­tional deaths, one in an ear­lier strike on Maaret Al-Nu­man and an­other in Al-Naqir, also in Idlib. It said six civilians, four of them chil­dren, had been killed in a govern­ment bar­rel bomb at­tack on the town of Al-Ta­manah in the same prov­ince. Rus­sia, a staunch ally of Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad’s govern­ment, be­gan a mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion in sup­port of Da­m­as­cus in Septem­ber 2015. Moscow says it is tar­get­ing “ter­ror­ists” and has dis­missed re­ports of civil­ian ca­su­al­ties in its strikes.

Army ad­vances in Aleppo

Fol­low­ing lengthy ne­go­ti­a­tions with a highly re­sis­tant Rus­sia, the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil will vote on a text-drawn up by Egypt, New Zealand and Spain-call­ing for a truce of at least seven days in Aleppo and hu­man­i­tar­ian ac­cess to res­i­dents trapped in the fight­ing. It re­mains un­cer­tain whether Moscow will use its veto in the coun­cil to tor­pedo the mea­sure af­ter it pro­posed a re­new­able truce of only 24 hours, and for mil­i­tant groups such as the Al-Nusra Front to be ex­cluded.

In east Aleppo, govern­ment forces ad­vanced against rebels, tak­ing three neigh­bor­hoods and push­ing into a fourth, state me­dia and the Rus­sian de­fense min­istry said. The army and al­lied forces are nearly three weeks into an op­er­a­tion to re­cap­ture all of the city, di­vided be­tween regime and rebel forces since 2012. Tens of thou­sands of civilians have fled the of­fen­sive, which has made steady gains and threat­ens to deal Syria’s op­po­si­tion its worst de­feat in the five-year civil war. State tele­vi­sion said late Sun­day the army had cap­tured the dis­tricts of Karm Al-Ta­han and Myessar and ad­vanced into the Qadi Askar neigh­bor­hood. — AFP

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