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Al-Zoghbi Uncovers Russian Plan Targeting Idlib, Hama following Aleppo | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Syrian civil defence volunteers evacuate a man and children from a residential building following a reported air strike on the rebel-held eastern neighbourhood of Bab al-Nayrab in Syria’s second city Aleppo, on April 29, 2016.
Fresh bombardment shook Syria’s second city Aleppo, severely damaging a local clinic as outrage grows over an earlier air strike that destroyed a hospital. The northern city has been battered by a week of air strikes, rocket fire, and shelling, leaving more than 200 civilians dead across the metropolis. The renewed violence has all but collapsed a fragile ceasefire deal that had brought an unprecedented lull in fighting since February 27. / AFP PHOTO / AMEER ALHALBI

Riyadh-Head of the Syrian opposition delegation to Geneva, Asaad al-Zoghbi revealed a Russian-Iranian plan in coordination with the Assad regime to move the systematic destructive battle from Aleppo to the city of Idlib and later to Hama.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat published on Monday, al-Zoghbi said that a meeting of the opposition held in Istanbul two days ago agreed on uniting all military opposition factions under one brigade and one leadership capable of facing the Russian destructive forces that are supported by the Syrian regime and Iranian militias.

Al-Zoghbi said opposition groups expect Gulf countries to take a position regarding the latest events in Aleppo.

According to him, the High Negotiations Committee is expected to meet in the next two days in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, to take a firmer position over the developments in Syria.

“The position will have two parts: Enhance the military operations and ask for the help of the international community without relying on Washington,” he said.

Commenting on the latest developments in Aleppo, al-Zoghbi said: “Currently, there is a complete systematic destruction of Aleppo, and this destruction is on its way to devastate Idlib and later Hama. The attention in Syria is not directed anymore to a revolution against the Assad regime, but rather towards the Aleppo battle. This is what the Russians and the Americans want.

“After this phase, an agreement will be reached supported by a decision from the U.N. Security Council. Then everybody will forget about what Assad controls from Lattakia to Damascus.”

The head of the Syrian negotiating team said scores of Russian warplanes are currently bombing Aleppo. “There was a Russian plan that the Russian Defense Minister and Iran had agreed on during a meeting held three months ago in Tehran to either totally control Aleppo, or completely destroy the city.”

He said that since the announcement of the alleged seven-day ceasefire during the Eid al-Adha, the Russians, the Iranians and the regime were mobilizing their forces and more than 8,300 soldiers to prepare for the battle of Aleppo.

Al-Zoghbi said that Saudi Arabia and other brotherly countries, which are helping the Syrian opposition, have decided to back the armed opposition and provide them with weapons.

He said Turkey also supports arming the opposition, adding he expected a similar position from Gulf countries soon.