Syrian president says he will take back Aleppo at all costs
President Bashar Al Assad of Syria intends to capture all of Aleppo at all costs and use the city as a “springboard” from which to liberate other areas of the country.
“You have to keep cleaning this area and to push the terrorists to Turkey to go back to where they came from, or to kill them,” said the president in an interview with the Russian news outlet, Komsomolskaya Pravda,
“There is no other option.”
The president’s stated intention makes it clear that eastern Aleppo — held by the opposition but under government siege for months — can expect no mercy.
Since the September ceasefire brokered by the US and Russia collapsed after less than a week, at least 358 civilians have been killed in eastern Aleppo, according to the UK-based monitoring service, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. . The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said three weeks of air strikes on eastern Aleppo have killed 114 children and wounded 320 others. The international charity said hospitals are reporting that people with easily treatable injuries are dying because they struggle to reach medical facilities, or reach them too late, when they have already developed complications..
“The international community has become immune to images of dead children being recovered from the rubble of buildings ravaged by bombs. This has become a daily occurrence,” said Carlos Francisco, MSF Head of Mission for Syria. “All sorts of civilian spaces are being hit; schools are being damaged. The reality is that children die every day in what appears to be a ‘kill box’.”
The UN children’s agency, Unicef, said that rebel shelling of a government neighbourhood in Aleppo on Thursday killed four children and wounded three who were on their way to school.
Syrian government forces have now encircled eastern Aleppo and residents awokeon Friday to a fresh wave of air bombardment which was certain to add to the dozens of casualties of recent days. As diplomats from the US, Russia and Europe prepared to resume their efforts at peace in Switzerland on Saturday, exhausted rescue workers combed through rubble searching for victims of the intense air strikes which have pounded the city relentlessly all week.
Among the areas hit on Friday was the eastern Sakhour neighbourhood where one of the city’s largest hospitals, known as M10, was struck again. It had already been put out of service by several earlier strikes.
In the town of Azaz, north of Aleppo near the Turkish border, amateur videos released on Friday show the aftermath of a blast that targeted rebels and killed at least 17 people.
In one of the videos, a man is seen weeping as he screams Mohammed, the name of a missing man. The video also shows several bodies lying on the ground outside what appears to be a hospital.
Near the capital of Damascus, government forces captured the rebel-held area of Deir Khabiyeh, according to state media and the Syrian Observatory.
And though Russia made the first move towards the resumption of talks, the Kremlin has rejected pressure to stop the bombardment of Aleppo and foreign minister Sergey Larov readily admitted that he has “no special expectations” of the meeting scheduled for Saturday in Lausanne.
The Syrian foreign minister Walid Al-Muallem will visit Moscow in the last week of October, Mr Lavrov’s deputy, Gennady Gatilov Dsaid on Friday.told the Interfax news agency on Friday. Other Russian parliamentarians say president Vladimir Putin is determined to consolidate gains by the Syrian military — backed by his own forces — before a new American president takes office in Janunuary.
“Seizing full control over Aleppo is just a matter of time,” said Dmitry Sablin, a member of the defence committee of Russia’s lower house of parliament. Mr Sablin, who regularly visits Syria and meets Assad, said president Putin will gain more bargaining power before dealing with President Barack Obama’s successor.
On Friday, the Russian president approved a law ratifying Russia’s deployment in Syria indefinitely.