|Published : 14 Oct 2016, 21:19:59|
Shelling, airstrikes leave 65 dead in Syria in three days
Aleppo to serve as springboard for liberation: Assad
BEIRUT, Oct 14 (AP): Overnight shelling and over a dozen airstrikes on rebel-held parts of the Syrian city of Aleppo killed at least 11 people, bringing the death toll over the last three days in the embattled city to at least 65, activists said Thursday. Meanwhile, rebel shelling of government-held areas in the divided city killed two girls at a school. The airstrikes came a day after an air raid hit eastern Aleppo's biggest market, killing at least 15 people and leveling buildings.
Aleppo's unabating violence has given additional urgency to the upcoming meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on efforts to find a peace deal in Syria in Switzerland on Saturday. It will be the first face-to-face contact between the two men since Washington broke off bilateral diplomatic contact with Moscow on Syria over the violence in Aleppo earlier this month.
In other developments in Syria's multi-layered conflict, two Iraqi militia commanders said Thursday they have started withdrawing some of their elite forces from Syria, where they are fighting on the side of President Bashar Assad's government, to Iraq in preparation for the battle to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State group.
Another report adds: A military victory in Aleppo would provide the Syrian army a springboard from which to liberate other areas of the country from "terrorists," President Bashar Assad said in an interview with a Russian media outlet.
In an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda released Thursday, Assad said Aleppo is effectively no longer Syria's industrial capital but taking back the city would provide important political and strategic gains for his regime.
"It's going to be the springboard, as a big city, to move to other areas, to liberate other areas from the terrorists. This is the importance of Aleppo now," Assad said.