Syria's Assad: Taking Aleppo will push 'terrorists' back to Turkey - newspaper


"This is the importance of Aleppo now", Assad said.

The call came in a statement at the close of a meeting in the Saudi capital between Ankara's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his counterparts from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.

Syrian president Bashar al Assad has said a victory in Aleppo would be "a very important springboard" to pushing "terrorists" back to Turkey.

The battle for Mosul is expected to be the most complex yet for Iraqi forces, backed by USA -led coalition air-power. Since Mosul first fell to IS in June 2014, the extremists have been pushed from more than half of the territory they once held in Iraq, according to figures released by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's office. Some officials argue the Iraqis now cannot retake the city without significant help from Kurdish peshmerga forces, as well as Sunni and Shi'ite militias, and that their participation could trigger religious and ethnic conflict in the city.

Earlier in the week, French President François Hollande had said Russian Federation could be charged with war crimes for its continuous airstrikes in Syria. The two spoke to The Associated Press in Baghdad on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss military tactics.

European Union foreign ministers will accuse the Syrian government and its allies of using disproportionate violence in its assault on rebel-held eastern Aleppo that "may amount to war crimes", according to a draft statement ahead of their meeting on Monday.

But as fighting continues in the besieged city of Aleppo, analysts are skeptical of any lasting cease-fire. The Halab Today TV channel reported "intense" airstrikes on rebel-held parts of Aleppo, adding that cluster bombs were being dropped. Rescue workers said 154 people had been killed in recent days.

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The United States, France, and other Western countries have blamed Russian Federation for civilian deaths in Syria.

The Observatory, a Britain-based war monitoring group, also said shelling on government-held parts of Aleppo had killed eight people on Wednesday and 79 civilians had been killed in eastern Aleppo since Tuesday. The U.N. says over 100 children have been killed in the campaign, which has also included a limited ground offensive.

Aleppo has been divided between government- and rebel-controlled areas for years.

Cairo and Riyadh are pivotal Arab capitals, and if they can not see eye to eye on the bloody Syrian conflict, now in its sixth year, there is little hope that the suffering of the Syrian people will come to an end any time soon or that a peaceful resolution to the war that has wreaked havoc on this Arab country will be arrived at. Under-Secretary-General Stephen O'Brien warned at the time that the arrangement could not be a precedent for other areas.

"Not surprisingly, (they gave a) negative response", Ramzy said. Syrian government and Russian military aircraft have systematically targeted schools and hospitals in defiance of global law, reducing much of the historic city to rubble.

Syrian state news agency SANA said the school in the al-Suleimaniya area had been targeted in what it described as a terrorist attack. The siege has caused an worldwide outcry with a number of countries and groups accusing Syria and Russian Federation of war crimes in connection with attacks on medical facilities and aid convoys. Moscow has rejected the accusations as unfounded.