Doha seeks emergency Syria meeting as Aleppo bombardment continues
Qatar's permanent envoy at the Cairo-based pan-Arab body has requested holding "a meeting to discuss the dangerous escalation in the city of Aleppo and the Syrian regime forces' massacres against civilians" there, a Qatar News Agency statement said.
The request comes after Russia said it will not ask the Syrian regime it backs to halt air raids on Aleppo, which has been divided between regime control in the west and rebel control in the east since 2012.
The Syrian regime has launched intense shelling and air raids on the city over the past nine days, killing nearly 250 civilians according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Syrian government warplanes and helicopter gunships continued on their offensive, launching fresh airstrikes on Saturday over rebel-held neighbourhoods in the northern city of Aleppo.
The violence comes as the International Committee of the Red Cross warned that the intensification of fighting brings millions of people closer to a humanitarian disaster.
|Terrified residents fled Saturday's new wave of airstrikes as a 'freeze' in fighting held on two other fronts|
Terrified residents fled Saturday's new wave of airstrikes as a "freeze" in fighting held on two other fronts.
Aleppo was left out of the temporary US-Russian brokered truce, which appeared intact in the regime stronghold of Latakia as well as Damascus and the nearby rebel bastion of Eastern Ghouta.
Residents flee Aleppo
At least six civilians died in rebel-controlled areas on Saturday, including Bab al-Nairab and Bustan al-Qasr districts, the civil defence said.
Meanwhile, dozens of civilians left the battered district of Bustan al-Qasr early on Saturday morning.
"The situation has become unbearable," Abu Mohammed said as he prepared to flee with his wife and five children.
"One of my kids is terrified by the bombing and no one has been buying anything from my shop for a week," said the household appliance salesman, "Everything is paralysed."
The few people out on the streets in the city's east watched the sky anxiously for regime aircraft, running for shelter when one launched a new raid.
|The few people out on the streets in the city's east watched the sky anxiously for regime aircraft, running for shelter when one launched a new raid|
The Britain-based Observatory reported 28 airstrikes on the area. Some families have fled to safer districts nearby.
Others left by the dangerous Castello road, the only route out of near-besieged east Aleppo that has been targeted by air strikes and shelling.
The violence in Aleppo has severely tested a February 27 truce between the regime and the rebels intended to pave the way to an end to the five-year conflict.
A new round of UN-backed peace talks is set to start on May 10 in Geneva.
Agencies contributed to this report