Renewed bombing kills over 150 in rebel-held Aleppo this week

Renewed bombing kills over 150 in rebel-held Aleppo this week
A Syrian civil defense member runs in a market hit by regime airstrikes in Aleppo’s rebel-held Al-Fardous district. (Reuters)
Updated 14 October 2016

Renewed bombing kills over 150 in rebel-held Aleppo this week

Renewed bombing kills over 150 in rebel-held Aleppo this week

BEIRUT: Renewed bombing of rebel-held eastern Aleppo has killed more than 150 people this week, rescue workers said on Thursday, as the Syrian government steps up its Russian-backed offensive to take the whole city.
Airstrikes against rebel-held areas of eastern Aleppo had tapered off over the weekend after the Syrian army announced it would reduce raids for what it described as humanitarian reasons. But the strikes have intensified since Tuesday.
Airstrikes killed 13 people on Thursday, when warplanes hit several rebel-held districts, including Al-Kalaseh, Bustan Al-Qasr and Al-Sakhour, Civil Defense official Ibrahim Abu Al-Laith told Reuters from Aleppo.
“The bombing started at 2 a.m. and it’s going on till now,” he said.
In a government-held area of western Aleppo, at least four children were killed and 10 wounded on Thursday when shells landed near a school, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
Meanwhile, Britain is looking at its military involvement in Syria but any action would need to be part of a coalition involving the US and is not likely to happen soon, Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday.
The British government lost a 2013 parliamentary vote over plans to bomb the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad, but has been involved in bombing raids against Daesh in Syria since winning the support of lawmakers last December.
“It is right now that we should be looking again at the more kinetic options, the military options,” Johnson told a committee of lawmakers. “But we must be realistic about how these in fact work, and what is deliverable.”
“We can’t do anything without a coalition, without doing it with the Americans. I think we’re still a pretty long day’s march from getting there but that doesn’t mean that discussions aren’t going on, because they certainly are.”
Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokeswoman said no decisions had been made about Britain changing its approach in Syria, and the government was looking at a range of options as it seeks to help bring an end to the conflict in Syria.
“We need to think through carefully the consequences of any action,” she said. “We are talking to partners about is there any more we can be doing to end this appalling conflict.”
Johnson, who described Russia’s actions in Syria as barbaric, also said it was important not to raise false hopes over the idea of a no fly zone over parts of Syria to prevent the Russian and Syrian government air strikes on Aleppo.
“We know the difficulties and implications of a no fly zone or a no bombing zone,” he said. “But if there is more that we can reasonably and practically do together with our allies, then of course we should consider those measures.”
Russia said it would welcome Britain’s involvement if it targeted terrorists rather than Assad’s forces.
Separately, Syria’s state grain buying agency Hoboob struck a deal to purchase one million tons of Russian wheat from political ally Russia, covering the needs of government-controlled areas for a year.
The Damascus government subsidizes bread for the areas it controls ensuring the supply of flat loaves that are a staple for Syrian people.
Syria often buys wheat from Russia but this was an unusually large amount for a cheap price. The source said it should cover the government’s needs for this year until the next local wheat buying season in 2017.
A Syrian government source close to the matter told Reuters Hoboob purchased the wheat at 150 euros ($168) a ton, on a cost and freight basis, and shipment would be for a year after opening up the letter of credit.
Syria’s local wheat harvest nearly halved to 1.3 million tons this year, the lowest in 27 years, as fighting and poor rainfall further eroded the nation’s ability to feed itself.