PHOTO: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry in Lima, Peru on Thursday (Mark Ralston/AFP)
UPDATE 1330 GMT: Russia and the regime have continued to bomb in and near Aleppo city, including more attacks on medical facilities.
Dr. Hatem, the head of the only pediatric hospital remaining in besieged eastern Aleppo city, said his facility in the al-Shaar neighborhood was struck once more on Friday, damaging the exterior. The hospital was also hit during a wave of airstrikes on Wednesday on the complex of four facilities.”
“Now it is being bombed … I am sorry … I have to go to transfer the children [to a safe area],” he said in a text.
Another Aleppo hospital in a different neighborhood was bombed late Thursday, he said. The entrance was set on fire but no one was wounded.
Ibrahim al-Haj, a member of the White Helmets rescuers in Aleppo said the city “is a mess”. The first responders said they are trying to put out fires set off by bombings in at least 10 different areas, he added.
Airstrikes on a village in Aleppo Province killed seven members of the same family, including four children, opposition activists said.
UPDATE 0830 GMT: The pro-opposition Local Coordination Committees documented the killing of 80 people across Syria on Thursday, including 49 people in Aleppo Province.
Pro-Assad attacks also killed 13 people in the Damascus suburbs and 10 in Idlib Province.
Among the dead were 17 children and nine women.
The LCC is also reporting Russian as well as regime strikes on eastern Aleppo city this morning, including Moscow’s use of parachute-retarded missiles. Districts targeted include Shaar and Sakhour.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has offered a new, novel explanation for Russia’s bombing across northwest Syria, saying that it is prevent Islamic State fighters from entering the opposite side of the country.
Lavrov said after “constructive” talks with his US counterpart, John Kerry. on Thursday that warplanes are attacking Idlib and Homs Province so ISIS members cannot retreat from Iraq’s second Mosul — facing an Iraqi-Kurdish offensive — do not cross into Syria:
Our aviation and the aviation of Syria work only in the provinces of Idlib and Homs in order to prevent the IS from crossing into Syria from Mosul.
— Usman A. Khan (@TheDocKhan) November 18, 2016
The Foreign Minister’s statement also denied that Russia has renewed its assault in and near besieged opposition-held eastern Aleppo city, alongside incessant regime attack — including barrel bombs — which has killed almost 200 people since Wednesday.
Videos and photographs have shown Russian cruise missiles, fired from ships in the eastern Mediterranean, and warplanes attacking through Aleppo Province. Among the targets are medical facilities, with at least hit in the last 72 hours.
Aunt in Aleppo reached out last night. 30+ barrel bombs & 90+ artillery shelling on her area alone. She may not survive a 4th barrel. #Syria
— Razan Saffour (@RazanSpeaks) November 18, 2016
An unexploded 500-lb. Russian bomb in the al-Firdous section of eastern Aleppo city:
Lavrov responded to the US State Department’s criticism of attacks on five hospitals in Idlib and Aleppo Province, with the insistence that Russian jets have not been flown in Aleppo during the last 30 days. He maintained while targets are “carefully selected”.
Kerry said the discussion, on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders meeting in Peru, considered “every aspect of Aleppo”:
We had a constructive, important conversation about a number of topics ranging from Yemen to Libya and to Syria, obviously, as well as Ukraine and bilateral concerns. So we had a very broad discussion.
Russia and the Assad regime have besieged eastern Aleppo city, with about 270,000 residents, since late August. They bombed intensively from September 19 to October 18, killing more than 600 people. Facing international criticism over complicity in the regime’s “war crimes”, Moscow suspended the attacks but continued bombing elsewhere through Syria.