PHOTO: The devastated Hanano district of Aleppo, recaptured by pro-Assad forces on November 26
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UPDATE 1830 GMT: On the Ground News, which continues to report from inside eastern Aleppo city, speaks to a resident about the pro-Assad offensive — including constant shelling and bombing, and chlorine attack — and the pressure on civilians to flee or face death.
Residents Flee as Regime forces Squeeze Rebels. #AleppoUpdate
— On the Ground News (@OgnNews) December 7, 2016
UPDATE 1700 GMT: The leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the UK, and the US have issued a joint statement on the situation in Aleppo:
A humanitarian disaster is taking place before our very eyes. Some 200,000 civilians, including many children, in eastern Aleppo are cut off from food and medicine supplies. Aleppo is being subjected to daily bombings and artillery attacks by the Syrian regime, supported by Russia and Iran. Hospitals and schools have not been spared. Rather, they appear to be the targets of attack in an attempt to wear people down. The images of dying children are heart breaking. We condemn the actions of the Syrian regime and its foreign backers, especially Russia, for their obstruction of humanitarian aid, and strongly condemn the Syrian regime’s attacks that have devastated civilians and medical facilities and use of barrel bombs and chemical weapons.
The leaders called on the Assad regime to accept an immediate ceasefire and “on Russia and Iran to use their influence to help make this happen”.
Earlier this week Russia vetoed a UN resolution for a halt to military operations. However, claims are circulating that Moscow and Iran are willing to discuss a five-day ceasefire proposed by the local opposition, while the Assad regime has rejected the initiative.
The statement offered no answer if Damascus continues to block a ceasefire and aid to eastern Aleppo city, beyond saying, “We are ready to consider additional restrictive measures against individuals and entities that act for or on behalf of the Syrian regime.”
UPDATE 1200 GMT: Russian warplanes continue their assault aross Idlib and Aleppo Provinces — footage from Tuesday night of incendiary munitions dropping on Hraitan, northwest of Aleppo city:
Horrifying footage of regime air forces dropping internationally banned phosphorous bombs on Hiraitan, Aleppo, lighting up the night sky. pic.twitter.com/w20Y9HhhoB
— هادي العبدالله Hadi (@HadiAlabdallah) December 6, 2016
The Local Coordination Committees recorded the killing of 127 people on Tuesday, including 23 children and 17 women.
Of the casualties, 67 were in Aleppo Province and 44 in Idlib Province.
UPDATE 1030 GMT: The Syrian military is claiming control of Aleppo’s Old City, which had long been divided between the regime and the opposition.
Pro-Assad forces have now taken about 75% of the opposition area in eastern Aleppo city since November 26.
— Qalaat Al Mudiq (@QalaatAlMudiq) December 7, 2016
UPDATE 1025 GMT: The opposition’s Aleppo Local Council has proposed an immediate 5-day humanitarian ceasefire, with evacuation of all civilians who wish to leave east Aleppo city as well as the sick and wounded.
However, the council says that the evacuations cannot be to opposition-held Idlib Province, because of ongoing Russian-regime aerial attacks and because the area is already full of internally-displaced people.
Rebel factions have issued their own statement in support of the council.
Journalist Borzou Daragahi offers further information:
Source tells me Syria regime rejected this, but Russia and Iran want to talk https://t.co/gOVNo4xvNV
— Borzou Daragahi (@borzou) December 7, 2016
UPDATE 1020 GMT: The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed that one of its colonels has been killed in Aleppo city.
The colonel was identified as Ruslan Galitsky. The Ministry said he was severely wounded days ago.
On Sunday two Russian medics were killed and a doctor wounded when rebel shells. hit a field hospital in a mobile Russian base in the city.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Pro-Assad forces made a further advance in opposition areas of Aleppo on Tuesday, including the capture of much of a key district of Syria’s largest city.
Foreign forces and the Syrian army and militias moved into the Sha’ar district, taking almost all opposition territory north of the Aleppo Citadel. The pro-Assad offensive also regained all areas lost in the rebel counter-attack on Monday.
With the surge, the three-week offensive — Iranian units, Hezbollah fighters, and Iraqi, Palestinian, and Afghan militias as well as regime units — has occupied between 1/2 and 2/3 of the opposition area.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry, following Russia’s lead, said in a statement that it will not accept a ceasefire, as this would give rebels a chance to “regroup and repeat their crimes” in Aleppo.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that Moscow will continue to support the regime’s operations against “terrorists” and “extremists”.
Russia and the regime have cut off food and supplies to eastern Aleppo city since late August, while killing more than 1,200 civilians since September 19 in air attacks. The pro-Assad offensive has led to an estimated 50,000 civilians fleeing to regime or Kurdish areas, but more than 200,000 are believed to remain in the opposition districts.
On Monday, Russia used its veto to block a UN Security Council measure for a 7-day ceasefire. Yesterday it had to announce that its political effort with the US had been temporarily suspended, with the Americans refusing a meeting in Geneva.
Moscow proclaimed last week that it received a proposal by US Secretary of State John Kerry for the withdrawal of all rebels from eastern Aleppo.
Special forces from Chechnya prepare to join the Russian deployment in Syria:
Médecins Sans Frontières Ends Operations for Refugees in Jordan Camp
Médecins Sans Frontières has regrettably decided” to end its operations in Jordan’s Zaatari camp for displaced persons, because of Jordan closing its border to Syrians trying to cross.
An estimated 80,000 Syrians are trapped between sand banks in the desert Rukban camp, known as “The Berm”, after Jordan sealed the frontier in late 2015.
— MSF UK Press Office (@MSF_Press) December 7, 2016
MSF knows of at least 70 cases of war-wounded Syrians – 16 of them children – being denied permission to cross the Jordanian border #Zaatari
— MSF UK Press Office (@MSF_Press) December 7, 2016
a “military source” denied that the base itself was struck, saying the missiles landed “nearby”.
Pro-regime Al Mayadeen also said, “It is almost certain that Zionist rockets targeted the Mazzeh Military Airport from Lebanese airspace.”
Israel has periodically carried out airstrikes on regime facilities and convoys, seeking to prevent the transfer of missiles and weapons to Hezbollah.]
Multiple reports, including from pro-Assad accounts, say explosions have rocked the Mezzeh military base in southern Damascus.
The blast occurred between 3 and 4 a.m. local time. Pro-opposition accounts say a missile hit the complex, close to the Presidential Palace.
— Albin Szakola (@AlbinSzakola) December 7, 2016
Last week, Israeli warplanes fired two missiles on the al-Sabboura area west of Damascus.