Air strikes worsen Syria’s humanitarian situation
Scores believed killed in Russian attacks and residents starve to death in besieged areas while peace talks break down.
Russia has intensified its air strikes in an attempt to back up the Syrian government’s offensive in Syria’s Aleppo, killing scores of people, Al Jazeera has learnt.
The reports of deaths come amid another breakdown of peace talks in Geneva and a donor conference in London where world leaders have pledged $10bn to help Syrians.
At least 37 people have been killed, including three children, in suspected Russian air strikes on several neighbourhoods in Aleppo city, a local activist speaking on condition of anonymity told Al Jazeera on Thursday.
“Syrian and Russian air strikes have targeted al-Bab, Hmeimeh, Soran and several other neighbourhoods in Aleppo province. We can confirm that 37 people have been killed but we are expecting the death toll to rise,” he said.
Syrian activists accuse Russia of using cluster bombs
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at 21.
Russia launched its military operation in Syria in September 2015, and it says the campaign is against armed groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has seized territory in Iraq and Syria, and al-Nusra Front.
Against this backdrop of escalating political tensions, Saudi Arabia said on Thursday it was ready to participate in any ground operations in Syria if the US-led coalition decided to start such operations.
“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia announces its readiness to participate with ground troops within the US-led coalition against ISIL,” Brigadier-General Ahmed Asseri, who is also the spokesman for the Arab coalition in Yemen, told Al Jazeera.
The Syrian government launched a major offensive from the north of Aleppo and captured several strategically important towns on Monday.
Syrian forces and their allies broke a three-year rebel siege of the two Shia towns of Nubul and Zahraa in Aleppo province, Syria’s official news agency SANA reported on Wednesday, cutting off a main supply route to nearby Turkey.
The breakthrough comes after days of rapid military gains north of the major city of Aleppo, with Russian air strikes playing a key role in the advance.
Source: Al Jazeera