Syrian army on verge of major victory in Aleppo

Wed, 07.12.2016 15:58

Troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad are about to score one of their biggest victories in the country's war. Government forces rejected a temporary truce as rebels fled from their last stronghold in Aleppo.

His Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, however, said Assad had expressed willingness to make a deal to end the war, and that the resolution was an attempt by the US to buy time for the moderate rebels it supports.

"It looks like an attempt to buy time for the rebels to have a breather, take a pause and replenish their reserves," Lavrov said. He added that despite planned peace talks in Geneva this week, "a serious discussion with our American partners isn't working out."

The foreign minister has warned that the rebels will be "eradicated" if they refuse to withdraw all of their forces from eastern Aleppo. Moscow joined Damascus in rejecting the rebels' plea for a truce, despite the fact that shelling in Aleppo claimed the life of Colonel Ruslan Galitsky on Wednesday. It was Russia's third casualty in a week, after two nurses were killed at a makeshift hospital in the city.

Speaking to a conference of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party on Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the situation in Aleppo "a disgrace," particularly the failure to create safe corridors for residents to receive humanitarian aid or to flee. She also slammed Russian for the many civilian victims of its airstrike campaign in support of Assad.

As government forces looked poised to make one of the most significant gains of the nearly 6-year war, tens of thousands of east Aleppo residents attempted to escape to other parts of the city.


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