Civilian casualties increase in Syria’s Aleppo ahead of Swiss talks

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File photo shows men carrying wounded children after a Syrian airstrikes in Aleppo

ARA News

Aleppo – More than 200 civilians were reportedly killed this week by Russian and Syrian military operations in east Aleppo.

Shelling and air raids have intensified in Aleppo city since Monday, as the Syrian Army, backed by Shia militias and Russian warplanes, advances in Syria’s largest city.

On Thursday, at least 21 civilians were killed and dozens more injured in a protracted barrage of rebel-held districts. The epicenter of the bombardment was the neighborhoods of Bustan al-Qasr and Kalasseh, where dozens of residential buildings were leveled. Air raids were also reported further north in Sakhur District.

Thursday’s bloodshed comes just one day after Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that a new round of truce negotiations will be held between Moscow and Washington. Delegations from several countries with influence inside Syria are expected to meet on Saturday.

A statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the foreign ministers would meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, “to consider possible further steps to create conditions for the settlement of the Syrian crisis.”

Mounting International Pressure

The renewed peace talks coincide with mounting international pressure on Russia. Several western nations have expressed outrage at Moscow’s decision to take part in the siege of Aleppo.

Illustrating the pressure now faced by Russia, French officials said on Monday that the International Criminal Court (ICC) must investigate possible war crimes committed by Russian and Syrian governments.

“We do not agree with what Russia is doing, bombarding Aleppo. France is committed as never before to saving the population of Aleppo,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said.

Even if the Russian and Syrian offensive stopped, the infrastructure which supported eastern Aleppo’s civilian population has been critically damaged and in some cases utterly destroyed. Local activists reported that while the Russian and Syrian governments claim to target extremists, “airstrikes in Aleppo destroy homes, hospitals and schools.”

Reporting by: Helin Saeed | Source: ARA News 

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