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Syria army announces offensive on rebel-held Aleppo

24 September 2016

At the U.N., Assad's other major supporter also rejected the US -led call for aircraft to be grounded. While John Kerry said that Russia-US plan was "far from ideal", he noted that there was no alternative to a peaceful solution in Syria.

"We can only say that the world is watching passively at the death of the Syrian population in Aleppo and a new wave of refugees", Kodmani told Reuters in NY.

"You have 48 hours only, that's the time-frame the leadership has set", one of the messages said. A Central Command official told The New York Times that Russian Federation notified the us military that they were hitting Syrian troops 20 minutes after the bombardment began.

Ms. Attasi and other opponents of the regime said the government continues to use what they call "starve-or-submit" tactics against civilians living in besieged rebel-held areas across Syria, withholding food and medical aid for months to force local rebels and civilians to surrender.

Also in New York, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault accused Syrian President Bashar Al Assad of "playing the card of a partition" of his country with the Aleppo offensive. "We don't have any idea about what happened".

Aleppo, Syria's largest city, has been the scene of some of the six-year-long conflict's fiercest fighting. However, as NPR's Alison Meuse reported, an eyewitness said that "the attack consisted of helicopters and warplanes". Residents and activists say that the bombing, which began in earnest late Wednesday night, has been unprecedented, targeting residential areas, infrastructure and civil defense centers.

During the course of the AP interview, Assad also repeatedly denied assertions that his government's troops have carried out a broad range of human rights abuses and criminal actions, insisting that such actions would defy logic.

"The situation can fairly be called desperate", he said.

In April, the United Nations special envoy for Syria estimated that 400,000 people have died in the Syrian war.

There was no way to immediately determine who was responsible for the alleged strikes on the White Helmets' sites Friday, but members of the group claimed in messages to CBS News that it was Russian aircraft.

"How come that no one is able to stop the regime?" she said.

Prof Ayson says Mr al-Assad probably doesn't care for the civilians - and is himself probably a terrorist.

Syrian state media quoted army officials as urging civilians in eastern parts of the city to avoid areas where "terrorists" were operating. Doctors said that dozens of people were killed and hundreds injured.

Speaking about the almost 5 million refugees who have fled the violence in Syria, Assad called them a "great loss".

Rescue workers told AFP their stock of diesel was down to 2,000 litres (530 gallons), forcing them to ration fuel and make choices on when to intervene. "I am not anxious about this".

Rami Abdul Rahman, the director of the Observatory, described them as "the most intense strikes in months" on the two areas, with three women and three children among the dead.