Syria outlines plans for conquest of Aleppo, backed by Russian power

The New York Times reports: The Syrian government and its powerful Russian allies laid out a road map on Thursday for subduing the rebel-held districts of the city of Aleppo by opening corridors for civilians to flee and offering amnesty to insurgents who lay down their arms.

But residents and rebel fighters remained deeply skeptical of those offers, while aid groups warned of a tightening siege that could increase the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people.

Control of Aleppo, Syria’s most populous city before the civil war began five years ago, has been a main objective of the conflicts’ combatants. The city has been divided since 2012, with government forces controlling the western half and rebels holding districts in the east.

But Russia’s military intervention has provided an edge to the forces of President Bashar al-Assad, allowing them to cut off access to the city’s rebel-held areas, while also making life inside them worse through shelling and airstrikes against markets, bakeries and medical facilities — leaving entire neighborhoods in ruins.

Four hospitals have been struck and scores of civilians killed in the last week, according to monitoring groups. Rebel forces also use these neighborhoods to stage attacks that have killed civilians in government-held territory. [Continue reading…]

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