Syr­ian gov­ern­ment re­fuses U.N. truce terms for Aleppo

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD -

BEIRUT — The Syr­ian gov­ern­ment on Sun­day re­fused a U.N. pro­posal to grant the rebel-held east­ern dis­tricts of Aleppo au­ton­omy in or­der to re­store calm to the war-torn city.

For­eign Min­is­ter Walid al-Moallem said the state’s in­sti­tu­tions “must be re­stored” across the city and the mil­i­tants ex­pelled.

At least 164 civil­ians have been killed since the gov­ern­ment re­newed its as­sault on the be­sieged en­clave six days ago, ac­cord­ing to the Bri­tain­based Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights.

The U. N. es­ti­mates 275,000 peo­ple are trapped in­side. By Sat­ur­day, the gov­ern­ment had dam­aged or de­stroyed ev­ery hos­pi­tal in the east, ac­cord­ing to the Syr­ian Amer­i­can Med­i­cal So­ci­ety, which sup­ports hospi­tals in Syria.

On Sun­day, pro-gov­ern­ment forces ad­vanced into parts of the strate­gi­cally im­por­tant Hanano district in the north­east Aleppo, A man leads chil­dren from a school hit by rocket fire in western Aleppo on Sun­day. ac­cord­ing to state me­dia and the Ob­ser­va­tory.

Rebels out­side the city have launched two un­suc­cess­ful of­fen­sives to break the gov­ern­ment’s siege and have shelled the gov­ern­ment-held western dis­tricts. U.N. en­voy Staffan de Mis­tura had pro­posed that the Syr­ian gov­ern- ment grant east­ern Aleppo au­ton­omy in ex­change for peace, and called on the es­ti­mated 900 al-Qaidalinked mil­i­tants in the east to de­part to other re­bel­held ter­ri­tory in Syria.

But al-Moallem re­fused the of­fer in a meet­ing with de Mis­tura on Sun­day.

Syr­ian op­po­si­tion forces, mean­while, pressed on with their prepa­ra­tions to at­tack the Is­lamic State­held town of al-Bab, 21 miles north­east of Aleppo. They are backed by Turk­ish ground forces op­er­at­ing in­side Syria. AlMoallem called the Turk­ish pres­ence a “vi­o­la­tion” of Syr­ian ter­ri­tory.

GE­ORGE OURFALIAN/GETTY-AFP

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