Syrian government offers rebels state passage

As Syrian government and allied forces advance toward Aleppo, rebels are offered state passage and aid supplies.

Arutz Sheva North America Staff ,

Damaged Red Cross and Red Crescent medical supplies after airstrike in Aleppo
Damaged Red Cross and Red Crescent medical supplies after airstrike in Aleppo
Reuters

Syrian government and allied forces advanced toward Aleppo on Sunday, pursuing their week-old offensive to take the rebel-held part of the city after dozens of overnight air strikes, Reuters reported.

As the offensive continued, the Syrian army told the insurgents to leave their positions, offering safe passage and aid supplies, according to the news agency.

Syrian forces supported by Iranian-backed militias and Russian air power began their push to take the whole of the divided city after a ceasefire collapsed last month.

While Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke by phone to discuss normalization of the situation, Britain said the bombing of hospitals by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad made it impossible talk about peace.

"It is the continuing savagery of the Assad regime against the people of Aleppo and the complicity of the Russians in committing what are patently war crimes - bombing hospitals, when they know they are hospitals and nothing but hospitals - that is making it impossible for peace negotiations to resume," British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said, according to Reuters.

An air campaign by the Syrian government and its allies has been reinforced by a ground offensive against the besieged eastern half of Aleppo, where insurgents have been holding out.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Syrian military said on Sunday that the army and its allies had advanced south from the Handarat refugee camp north of the city, taking the Kindi hospital and parts of the Shuqaif industrial area.

The Syrian army said that rebel fighters should vacate east Aleppo in return for safe passage and aid supplies.

"The army high command calls on all armed fighters in the eastern neighborhood of Aleppo to leave these neighborhoods and let civilian residents live their normal lives," a statement carried by state news agency SANA and quoted by Reuters said.

Last week, United Nations aid chief Stephen O’Brien expressed alarm at the ongoing fighting in Aleppo, warning that the city faces a humanitarian catastrophe "unlike any" witnessed so far in Syria's brutal five-year war.

"Let me be clear: east Aleppo this minute is not at the edge of the precipice," O'Brien told the Security Council last Thursday.

"It is well into its terrible descent into the pitiless and merciless abyss of a humanitarian catastrophe unlike any we have witnessed in Syria," he warned.

On Saturday, the largest trauma and intensive care center in eastern Aleppo was badly damaged by air strikes and had to close. Two patients were killed, according to the Reuters report.

The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), which partly supported the hospital, said the hospital had been hit seven times since July, with three attacks this week alone.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Rosh Hashanah in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)



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