UN envoy offers to escort rebels out of Aleppo

TASS news agency quoted a Russian presidential envoy for the Middle East as saying Russia supported Mistura's idea of escorting ex-Nusra fighters out of Aleppo.

The government two weeks ago launched operations to recapture the rebel-held east of the city following the collapse of a short-lived truce negotiated by Russian Federation and the United States.

The situation in Syria mostly remains hard around the city of Aleppo.

Since Russia intervened in Syria a year ago, the US and Russian militaries have communicated to ensure aircraft from the two countries don't collide mid-air.

Russian Federation and Syria say their forces are attacking the powerful jihadist group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, which was known as al-Nusra Front until it it formally broke off ties with al-Qaeda in July.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry today called for a war crimes investigation of Russian Federation for its role in the destruction of Aleppo, Syria.

Lavrov said on Thursday during a Moscow press conference that Russian Federation endorsed the idea put forward by the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria to escort as many as 8,000 anti-government fighters from Aleppo to avoid the further destruction of the city.

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

"I would recommend to colleagues in Washington that they carefully calculate possible consequences of such plans", said the spokesman.

Regime forces took a key part of the rebel-held eastern part of the city on Thursday after weeks of bombardment, gaining control of part of Bustan al-Basha, Syrian state media and a UK-based monitoring group said.

The Observatory said clashes were underway Friday in Aleppo's southern Sheikh Saeed neighborhood, as well as along other fronts inside the city.

Russia, which now holds the presidency of the U.N. Security Council, called for de Mistura to brief members on Friday morning.

Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Maj.

"It's impossible for the rebel groups to leave Aleppo because this would be a trick by the regime", Turkey-based official Zakaria Malahifji said.

De Mistura told the Fatah group, formerly known as the Al-Nusra Front: "If you decide to leave with dignity.I am personally ready to physically accompany you".

On Monday, the largest hospital in Aleppo's east was completely destroyed in bombardment.

That would be intended as a strong signal to Moscow that it is not immune and continued support for the Assad regime would come at a price.

Global diplomatic pressure increased on Moscow Friday to end the joint Russian-Syrian siege of the city of Aleppo, but Moscow's United Nations ambassador says he will most likely veto a Security Council resolution that would ground Russian warplanes.

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.

At least 32 were killed in an August suicide attack there that was also claimed by IS.

  • Archie Newman