The Telegraph reports: A flotilla of Russian warships arrived off the coast of Syria on Saturday, readying for a large-scale land and sea assault on the city of Aleppo.
The eight-strong battle group, led by Moscow’s only aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and accompanied by a nuclear-powered missile cruiser, had provocatively travelled through the English Channel to reach the eastern Mediterranean.
Sergei Artamonov, commander of the Kuznetsov, confirmed to Russia-1 television station via videolink on Saturday that aircraft were already taking off from the ship’s deck for reconnaissance flights.
“Flights are being carried out from the deck… they are working on coordination with the shore port,” he said.
Asked whether foreign aircraft were flying over the ships, Vladislav Malakhovsky, commander of the Peter the Great missile cruiser, said: “they are afraid to come closer than 50 kilometres away, realising very well how powerful the nuclear cruiser is.”
The warships will be deployed to the Mediterranean for at least six months, the pro-government Syrian website al-Masdar News reported, quoting a military source. [Continue reading…]
The New York Times reports: The United Nations implored all sides in the Syria conflict on Thursday to allow food deliveries to rebel-held eastern Aleppo, where roughly 250,000 residents, under siege for months, just received their last rations.
Russia appeared to reject the plea.
“I don’t think anybody wants a quarter of a million people to be starving in east Aleppo,” Jan Egeland, the United Nations official in charge of a humanitarian task force for Syria, told reporters at the organization’s Geneva headquarters.
Food supplies have not been replenished in eastern Aleppo since mid-July, Mr. Egeland said. “The last food rations are being distributed as we speak,” he said. “There will not be more to distribute next week.” [Continue reading…]