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Aleppo pleas for protection as Syrian regime continues bombardment

Residents of Aleppo demonstrate against continuing Russian airstrikes on the city [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 May, 2016

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Despite pleas for protection from Aleppo residents, air raids continued to obliterate Syria's second city on Monday after a week of carnage.
Fresh regime air raids pounded Syria's Aleppo city early Monday, an AFP correspondent said, as US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Geneva in a bid to halt the mounting carnage.

More than a week of fighting in and around Syria's second city has killed hundreds of civilians.

Air raids on rebel-held east Aleppo hit in the early hours of Monday, AFP's correspondent there said, with no immediate reports of casualties.

Several neighbourhoods - including the heavily populated Bustan al-Qasr district - were hit. It was not clear if Monday's raids on the rebel area were conducted by Syrian or Russian war planes.

Meanwhile, rebel shelling into regime-controlled western areas of Aleppo city late Sunday killed three civilians including a child, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

'War crimes'

The local Aleppo Free Council on Sunday evening held a press conference on calling for the persecution of perpetrators of war crimes in Aleppo.

The head legal office in the province - Mohammed Arif - made an urgent appeal to international aid organisations to "stand in solidarity with the people of Aleppo".

He asked them to provide assistance and support to medical centres still operating in the city. Aleppo's hospitals and clinics have been continuously bombed by regime and Russian war planes, killing medical staff.

Medical help

Lawyer Ibrahim Hilal, head of the White Helmets in the province, said the city has been left devastated by 320 air strikes by the Syrian regime and Russian aircraft on the city and the surrounding countryside.

"The women, children and elderly killed in Aleppo is a crime in which all players in Syria who failed to defend the city are complicit," said Mohammed Maaz Abu Saleh, director of the political bureau. He called on the UN to condemn the bombardment.
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Massive bombing in Aleppo has left more than 250 civilians dead in one week and threatened both a UN-backed peace process and a fragile ceasefire deal.

On Sunday, Kerry landed in Geneva for talks with Arab ministers and UN peace envoy Staffan de Mistura in an urgent push to end the bloodshed.

He described the situation in Syria as "out of control".

"We are talking directly to the Russians, even now," Kerry said, after a week in which Moscow refused US calls to rein in its ally, the Syrian regime.

Aleppo was initially left out of a deal to "reinforce" a 27 February truce between Damascus and rebels.

The freeze in fighting, announced on Friday, applied to battlefronts in the coastal province of Latakia and Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus.

But there were reports on Tuesday that Hizballah and regime forces have launched a new offensive on the Damascus suburb.

The head of Moscow's coordination centre in Syria said on Sunday that talks to include Aleppo had begun.

"Currently active negotiations are underway to establish a 'regime of silence' in Aleppo province," Lieutenant General Sergei Kuralenko told Russian news agencies.

More than 425,000 people have been killed since Syria's conflict erupted in March 2011 with protests demanding the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad.


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