Amateur video footage has emerged purporting to show the aftermath of airstrikes on Syria’s largest city.
War monitoring group The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims at least 500 people have been killed in Aleppo, since the start of an offensive in early February, 2016.
At least 100 civilians are included in the figure, the group says.
Fighting for Aleppo, at what cost?
Syrian government forces, backed by Russian air strikes and Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, have been gaining on Aleppo, which has been rebel-held since 2012.
The operation to encircle the city represents a huge change in momentum in the five-year civil war.
However, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has accused Russia
and Iran of being complicit in prolonging the “brutality” of Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad.
The blame game
Assad’s Saudi-backed opponents say they will attend peace talks in Geneva later in February, but called on Washington to do more to stop the Russian aerial bombardment.
“Yes we will go. And we were there to make it a success, but we do not have a serious partner,” spokesman Salim al-Muslat said.
“If they stop killing civilians then I believe there will be a solution there,” and added “We don’t have any preconditions, we only ask for implementation of the Security Council resolution.”
The civil war has killed 250,000 people and displaced 11 million nationwide.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will travel to Germany this week for talks on Syria and to attend the annual Munich Security Conference.
US Secretary of State, John Kerry, has called on Moscow to participate in efforts to facilitate a ceasefire in Syria.
However, France claims Washington’s “ambiguous” policy is contributing to problems in the Middle Eastern country.
Fabius questioned the commitment of the US.
“There are ambiguities including among the actors of the coalition. I’m not going to repeat what I’ve said before about the main pilot of the coalition,” he said. “But we don’t have the feeling that there is a very strong commitment that is there.”
He said he didn’t expect a change in stance before the end of President Barack Obama’s term in November, 2016.
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