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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Syrian Forces Push Through Rebel-Held Eastern Aleppo

By VOA News October 09, 2016

Syrian government forces continued their offensive on rebel-held eastern Aleppo, after the U.N. Security Council failed to pass a resolution Saturday on a truce to end the deadly bombing of the city.

Regime forces and their allies were advancing street by street in the eastern sector of Aleppo, which had been out of government control since 2012, the British-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that regime forces took control of the Jandul crossroads in the northeast of the city.

The Observatory said 290 civilians have died in artillery bombardment of eastern districts and 50 civilians have died in rebel bombardment of regime-controlled western districts in the past two weeks.

The Damascus daily newspaper Al-Watan, which is close to the government, said the latest advance is aiming to clear the way for "a crucial and decisive land offensive."

Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and their Russian ally launched the operation to reunite the government-held west and rebel controlled east of Aleppo on September 22.

Russian veto

At the United Nations Saturday Russia vetoed the draft U.N. Security Council resolution drafted by France and Spain demanding an end to the bombing of Aleppo.

Shortly after Russia's veto, the Security Council rejected a rival draft presented by Moscow that called for a cease-fire but did not mention a halt in air strikes.

It is the fifth time in five years that Moscow has used its veto to block U.N. action aimed at stopping the bloodshed.

"The regime and its supporters claim to be acting in the context of combating terrorism," said French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who flew to New York for the rare Saturday vote.

"This is totally false and I strongly condemn it. Bashar al-Assad is not combating terrorism; he is fueling it," the minister said.

Ayrault had spent the previous three days conducting shuttle diplomacy, going first to Moscow and then Washington, to see if could win support for the measure from the two capitals after the U.S. suspended bilateral cooperation with Russia on Syria.

Without the Russian veto, the measure would have passed. China and Angola abstained and Venezuela joined Russia in voting no, but 11 council members voted in favor.

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