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The New Arab

Opposition calls for immediate military measures to protect Syrians

The regime and its allies have carried out a brutal onslaught on eastern Aleppo [AFP]

Date of publication: 24 September, 2016

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The head of the Syrian opposition's top negotiations body on Saturday called on Washington to take immediate military measures to protect Syrians amid a regime onslaught on rebel-held eastern Aleppo.

The head of the Syrian opposition's top negotiations body on Saturday called on Washington to take immediate military measures to protect Syrians amid a regime onslaught on rebel-held eastern Aleppo.

"What’s happening in Aleppo is a genocide at the hands of Russia," Riad Hijab, the chief coordinator for the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee told Al Jazeera TV on Saturday.

The opposition leader said that the “Syrian calamity” needs the resolve of the international community to be resolved, but the current US administration does not possess such a resolve.

Hijab criticised the US decision not to arm the Free Syrian Army with anti-aircraft weapons, describing it as being based on “flimsy excuses”.

The Syrian regime on Thursday announced that it was undertaking a new offensive on rebel-held districts of Aleppo, after a US-Russian brokered truce ended in failure earlier in the week. 

Speaking to The New Arab, Ibrahim a-Hajj, a White Helmets press officer, said that 90 civilians had been killed in the previous 24 hours, with hundreds more injured, and many more trapped under rubble.

Over 150 air raids were recorded to have hit rebel-held Aleppo on Friday targeting 15 neighbourhoods, with the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reporting the involvement of Russian jets.

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday slammed the "chilling" upsurge in fighting in Aleppo and warned that the use of advanced weaponry in Syria's battleground city could amount to war crimes.

Ban cited reports of airstrikes involving the use of incendiary weapons, bunker buster bombs and other powerful munitions in the regime offensive.

He warned that "the apparent systematic use of these types of indiscriminate weapons in densely populated areas may amount to war crimes," a statement from his spokesman said.

Ban "considers this a dark day for the global commitment to protect civilians," said the statement.

He urged the international community to unite to send a clear message to the Syrian government that "it will not tolerate the use of indiscriminate and ever more deadly and powerful weapons against civilians."

Hijab expressed dismay at the inaction of the current US administration, adding that the opposition hopes the new administration would take a different stance towards the Syrian crisis, especially if Hillary Clinton is elected.

“The political process have become a tool for the regime to achieve additional gains of the ground,” Hijab said.

“The opposition’s High Commission should hold an emergency meeting to discuss the future of the political process,” Hijab added.    

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