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Syrian government planes bombard Aleppo as diplomacy degenerates

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By Alasdair Sandford
Syrian government planes bombard Aleppo as diplomacy degenerates

Sunday in Aleppo has seen fierce battles between the Syrian army and rebels for a strategic refugee camp.

The rebels are said to have retaken the Handarat camp to the north of the city, despite bombing from government forces which had seized ground earlier. Video uploaded to social media purported to show rebels launching a counter-attack on the Palestinian camp.

Meanwhile planes have continued to bombard rebel-held districts of Syria’s second city, where more than 250,000 civilians are besieged by government forces.

Opposition activists accused government forces of dropping barrel bombs from helicopters. At least six children were killed in one district according to one report.

More than 90 civilians were reported killed on Saturday as Damascus, backed by Russia, continued its bombing offensive on Aleppo.

The UN says two million civilians are without water supplies in the northern city.

Thirty rebel groups including the Free Syria Army have said negotiations under present conditions are meaningless. They said they could not accept Russia as a sponsor of a new peace initiative, accusing Moscow of partnering the regime in its “crimes against our people”.

Russia and the United States agreed a deal on September 9 to put the peace process back on track, but a tentative ceasefire has since collapsed.

The United Nations Security Council has been meeting in New York on Sunday to discuss Aleppo. Called by the US, Britain and France, the meeting degenerated into a fierce war of words.

The US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, said Russia’s action in Syria was barbarism, not counter-terrorism. Moscow backs President al-Assad in his fight against rebels seeking to topple him.

Britain’s ambassador to the UN said Russia was partnering the Syrian government to carry out war crimes, echoing comments by Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson earlier in the day.

Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the Council that peace in Syria was “almost an impossible task now”, accusing rebels groups of having sabotaged the ceasefire.

with Reuters