US, Western leaders calling for immediate Aleppo cease-fire

Dec 13, 2016, 00:51

Capt. Abdel-Salam Abdel-Razek of the rebel Nour el-Din el-Zinki faction, which is one of the largest operating inside Aleppo, said that the cease-fire proposal was driven by humanitarian concerns because of the rising death toll and intensive destruction.

The Syrian army captured Sheikh Saeed district near southeastern Aleppo on Monday (12 December), giving regime forces control of 90% of the area that was previously held by rebels, a Syrian official and the UK-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said.

BEIRUT (AP) - President Bashar Assad said in comments published Thursday that Syrian forces' victory in the battle for Aleppo will be a "big gain" for his government but that it will not end of the country's civil war.

Key Assad ally Russian Federation had announced talks with the United States in Geneva for Tuesday or Wednesday on organising a rebel withdrawal from Aleppo ahead of a ceasefire. However, US-backed opposition forces have been targeted in the aerial campaign, according to rebel groups.

Moscow is a key Assad ally and launched an air war in support of his forces past year, while Washington and other Western nations have supported rebel forces. Moscow had the impression that "a serious discussion with our American partners isn't working out".

She said: "It defies belief that after almost six years of suffering through this war, the global community is still willing to stand by as civilians are bombed with seeming impunity".

"I'm not aware of any specific refusal", he replied when asked about Moscow's allegations as he attended a meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation foreign ministers in Brussels.

The statement comes a day after Russian Federation and China blocked a draft resolution at the U.N. Security Council demanding a seven-day truce in Aleppo.

However, deputy United States envoy Michele Sison said that Churkin's claim of an agreement was a "made up alibi".

"As soon as they agree on something clear, then the (rebel) groups will discuss it. but there has been no clear agreement yet", he said.

The head of the ICRC delegation in Syria, Marianne Gasser, who is in the city, said in a statement on the evacuees: "Many of them can not move and need special attention and care".

Areas we've been able to visit are a testament to intense fighting.

The war has killed hundreds of thousands of people, made more than half of Syrians homeless and created the world's worst refugee crisis.

More than 300,000 people have since died and millions forced from their homes.

Syria's former economic capital and industrial hub, the city of Aleppo lies at a strategic commercial crossroads near the border with Turkey.

Merkel on Tuesday lashed out at the global community's inability to stop the bloodshed.

"Aleppo is a disgrace", she said in a speech to her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, slamming Russian and Iranian support for the bombardment.

"Terrorists are present elsewhere - even if we finish with Aleppo, we will continue our war against them", he said.

State news agency Sana said that on Sunday alone, at least 8,000 people had fled rebel districts through several government-run crossings.

The Syrian government and its ally Russian Federation have rejected a cease-fire for the war-torn city, keeping up the military offensive amid rebel retreats and massive displacement of Aleppo civilians.

Syrian rebels in Aleppo city called Wednesday for an immediate five-day truce and the evacuation of civilians to other opposition-held territory in the northern province, a statement said.

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