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Aleppo is Dying Under Barrel Bombs as Chances to Save the City Disappear | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Destruction following an air strike in a rebel-held district of Aleppo on 23 September. Photograph: Karam Al-Masri/AFP

Beirut, Washington- The eastern suburbs of Aleppo city in Syria drenched on Friday in the hell of Syrian and Russian airstrikes, at a time when the chances of saving the city from hunger and fighting were fading day after another.

The dire situation in Aleppo was reflected on Friday in a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his U.S. counterpart John Kerry, who announced the failure of talks and asked Russia to respect the peaceful solution in Syria, warning that violence could spread.

In Aleppo, at least 70 people were killed on Friday and at around 40 buildings were destroyed, only hours after regime forces announced they would launch an attack in the eastern area of the city.

The Syrian opposition saw this development as a continuity of the regime’s policy that aims to deport Syrians from their villages and cities, similar to what happened in other areas. The development is also a sign showing that the regime refuses to deliver aids to Aleppo.

Member of the Syrian National Coalition Samir al-Nashar told Asharq Al-Awsat: “What is happening today in Aleppo aims to control the city and reiterate the scenario of deportation that took place in Aleppo, Moadamiyat al-Sham and al-Awar district,” adding that Aleppo would not fall to these attempts.

He said the 250,000 Syrians living in Aleppo in addition to the 10,000 armed fighters, will refuse to leave the city under any circumstances.

A military source told AFP the ground operation in Aleppo had not yet begun.

The source said: “We have begun reconnaissance, aerial and artillery bombardment.”

The U.N. announced Friday that it is looking into delivering aid to rebel-held east Aleppo via another route, as the main throughway into the area was blocked by the threat of the regime airstrikes. There are still 40 trucks stuck in a region between Turkey and Syria.

Jens Laerke, for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said: “We are conducting an evaluation to see how it would be possible to reach East Aleppo, not just with a cross-border operation from Turkey but also with an in-country convoy.”

Laerke described the situation in Aleppo as “tragic.”

The U.N. had previously tried to deliver aid to the eastern part of Aleppo using the Castello Road. However, the U.S.-Russian ceasefire deal to allow humanitarian aid to reach the city, was never implemented.

The deal had lasted a week and collapsed after a strike on a U.N. aid convoy and the resumption of violence after Syria’s military had announced last Thursday it would restart its assault in several Syrian areas.

Meanwhile, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham issued a Fatwa in Syria saying it would not support the Turkey-led Euphrates Shield operation.

“We forbid the participation in the Euphrates Shield forces under any regional power or international coalition,” read the Fatwa issued Friday.

Fateh al-Sham said also the U.S. role in the area represents a barefaced occupation through supporting the Kurdish militias and their agreement with the Russians.