getting up to date with aleppo

Russia Warns of ‘Terrible’ Consequences if Pindostan Attacks Syrian Forces in Aleppo
AP, Oct 1 2016

Russia warned Pindostan on Saturday against carrying out any attacks on Syrian government forces as they captured a hill on the northern edge of Aleppo under the cover of airstrikes. Russian news agencies quoted Foreign Ministry spox Maria Zakharova as saying that a Pindo intervention against the Syrian army “will lead to terrible, tectonic consequences, not only on the territory of this country but also in the region on the whole.” She said regime change in Syria would create a vacuum that would be “quickly filled” by “terrorists of all stripes.” Syrian troops pushed ahead in their offensive on Saturday, capturing the strategic Umm’al-Shuqif hill near Handarat on the northern edge of Aleppo, according to state TV. Ahrar al-Sham said rebels regained control Saturday of several positions they lost in the Bustan al-Basha neighborhood. State media said 13 people were wounded when rebels shelled the central government-held neighborhood of Midan. Airstrikes struck a hospital in the eastern rebel-held neighborhood of Sakhour, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees. The Pindosi Relief Coalition for Syria said two patients were killed and 13 were injured. Opposition activist Ahmad Alkhatib posted photographs on his Twitter account showing beds covered with dust, a hole in the roof and debris covering the street outside. On Friday, MSF demanded that the Syrian government and its allies “halt the indiscriminate bombing that has killed and wounded hundreds of civilians, many of them children.” It said from Sep 21 to 26, hospitals still functioning reported receiving more than 822 wounded, including at least 221 children, and more than 278 dead bodies, including 96 children, according to the Directorate of Health in east Aleppo.

Syria presses Aleppo advance, tells rebels to leave
Lisa Barrington, Reuters, Oct 2 2016

BEIRUT – Syrian government and allied forces have advanced toward Aleppo, pursuing their week-old offensive to take the rebel-held part of the city after dozens of overnight air strikes. The Syrian army told the insurgents to leave their positions, offering safe passage and aid supplies. Lavrov and Jackass spoke by phone to discuss normalization of the situation, Britain said the bombing of hospitals by forces loyal to Assad made it impossible talk about peace. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

It is the continuing savagery of the Assad regime against the people of Aleppo and the complicity of the Russians in committing what are patently war crimes, bombing hospitals, when they know they are hospitals and nothing but hospitals, that is making it impossible for peace negotiations to resume.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Syrian military said on Sunday that the army and its allies had advanced south from the Handarat refugee camp north of the city, taking the Kindi hospital and parts of the Shuqaif industrial area. Zakaria Malahifji of the rebel group Fastaqim told Reuters there were clashes in this area on Sunday. The Observatory said air strikes and shelling continued on Sunday and there was fierce fighting all along the front line which cuts the city in two. The Syrian army said that rebel fighters should vacate east Aleppo in return for safe passage and aid supplies. A statement carried by SANA said:

The army high command calls on all armed fighters in the eastern neighborhood of Aleppo to leave these neighborhoods and let civilian residents live their normal lives.

East Aleppo came under siege in early July after its main supply route, the Castello Road, fell under government control. International attempts to establish ceasefires to allow in UN humanitarian aid have failed, although other aid groups have brought in limited supplies. UN Under-Sec-Gen for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien said he was “deeply alarmed by the ferocious pummeling of eastern Aleppo” and reiterated UN calls for a pause in fighting, medical evacuations and access for aid. He said:

The health system is on the verge of total collapse with patients being turned away and no medicines available to treat even the most common ailments. With clean water and food in very short supply, the number of people requiring urgent medical evacuations is likely to rise dramatically in the coming days.

The EU announced an initiative for Aleppo aimed at allowing humanitarian organizations to do their work and civilians to be rescued and protected. A statement said:

The EU calls on all parties to urgently provide the necessary authoritizations for aid delivery and for medical evacuations to proceed.

On Saturday, the largest trauma and intensive care center in eastern Aleppo was badly damaged by air strikes and had to close. Two patients were killed. The Syrian American Medical Society, which partly supported the hospital, said the hospital had been hit seven times since July, with three attacks this week alone. They said only five hospitals remained operational in east Aleppo.
Mohamed Abu Rajab, a nurse at the hospital, said:

The situation in Aleppo is beyond dire. People are stuck under the rubble and we can’t get to them because of the intensity of the shelling. We are pleading for help to stop the bombing.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by state media that the participation of Russia’s air force in the conflict now in its sixth year had “tightened the noose on terrorist groups and reduced their ability to spread terror to other countries.”

Syrian army tells rebel fighters to leave east Aleppo, says it will guarantee safe passage
Lisa Barrington, Reuters, Oct 2 2016

The Syrian army said in a statement carried by state media on Sunday that rebel fighters should vacate the eastern quarters of the northern city of Aleppo and said it would guarantee them safe passage and necessary aid. The statement carried by SANA said:

The army high command calls all armed fighters in the eastern neighbourhood of Aleppo to leave these neighbourhoods and let civilian residents live their normal lives. The Russian and Syrian military leaderships will guarantee safe passage for the fighters and will give them aid as necessary.

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