The Washington Post reports: Violence surged in Syria on Thursday as Syria’s government made it clear it has no intention of abiding by U.S. calls for the restoration of the failed U.S.-Russian cease-fire deal.
Late Thursday night, the Syrian army announced the launch of an offensive to recapture the rebel held eastern portions of the city of Aleppo, which has been completely surrounded by government forces for the past three weeks.
Syrian rescue workers and activists reported heavy bombing in rebel controlled areas early on Friday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported at least 40 air strikes from midnight onwards.
The head of civil defense, the acclaimed “White Helmets” rescue service, in the eastern part of the city said three of its four centers had been hit by bombs, knocking two of out commission.
“Today, we can say our work has stopped because of the lack of fuel, the destruction of the equipment and the intensity of the bombardment,” Ammar al-Selmo told Reuters news agency.
The announcement of the offensive suggested that Syria’s government has no intention of complying with any further cease-fire requests from the international community, despite appeals by Secretary of State John F. Kerry the day before to revive the failed attempt to stop the fighting.
In an interview with the Associated Press in Damascus, a defiant President Bashar al-Assad said he takes no notice of what U.S. government officials say.
“American officials — they say something in the morning and they do the opposite in the evening,” he said. “You cannot take them at their word, to be frank. We don’t listen to their statements, we don’t care about it, we don’t believe it.” [Continue reading…]