United Nations envoy: I will escort fighters out of Aleppo

Posted October 08, 2016

Syrian government troops advanced gradually against rebels inside ravaged second city Aleppo on Friday, as the UN Security Council prepared to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the violence.

The UN has predicted that rebel-held eastern Aleppo could be totally destroyed by Christmas, leaving little time for a new solution to emerge.

A Fatah al-Sham official in northern Syria said the group's gunmen will not leave Aleppo, adding that they intend to stay to defend eastern parts of the city.

The Observatory said clashes were under way in Aleppo's southern Sheikh Saeed neighbourhood, as well as along other fronts inside the city.

More than 300,000 people have been killed since the conflict began with fierce repression of anti-government protests in March 2011.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has described conditions in eastern Aleppo, where 275,000 people are trapped under a government siege, as "worse than a slaughterhouse".

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Assad told Denmark's TV2 station that "to say that this is our aim as a government, (that) we give the orders to destroy hospitals or schools or to kill civilians, this is against our interest".

President Bashar al-Assad, whose Government has described all armed groups seeking his overthrow as terrorists, said in an interview with Danish television that his forces would recapture all of Syria.

Meanwhile, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that any aggression against territory now under Syrian government control would threaten Russian personnel now on the ground delivering humanitarian aid to the civilian population.

"All of them have the same grassroots, the same grassroots that used to be called Free Syrian Army four years ago, five years ago, then it became al-Nusra, then it became ISIS", he said.

Opposition fighters remaining in Aleppo after the United Nations special envoy's plan is enacted should be clearly separated from the militant group, he added.

An AFP correspondent said he saw no sign of people leaving, and residents have previously said they feared entering government-controlled territory.

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It was also unclear whether Russian Federation would actually down a USA plane attacking a target in Syria, but it raised the possibility again of a serious crisis between Russian Federation and America, with tensions recently reaching new highs.

Mr de Mistura said at least 200 wounded civilians were in need of evacuation to save their lives.

According to him, there are about 900 organization Jabhat al-Nusra fighters in eastern Aleppo.

"If you decide to leave with dignity. I am personally ready to physically accompany you", Mistura said. "We'll leave it to the Russians to participate in that as they see fit".

The U.N. Security Council was expected to vote on Saturday on a draft resolution that calls for an immediate truce in Aleppo, a no-fly zone and access for humanitarian aid.

Washington said this week it was suspending talks with Moscow on Syria over Russia's involvement in the Aleppo assault.

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"What Russia is sponsoring and doing is not counterterrorism - it is barbarism", Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told member nations at a UN Security Council meeting late last month.