Syrian government rejects UN proposal for Aleppo

Around 240 people have been killed in bombing in eastern Aleppo and the countryside to the west of the city since Tuesday

Syrian government rejects UN proposal for Aleppo

Damaged structures are seen in the Syrian city of Aleppo | Image: UNHCR/Bassam Diab

The Syrian government has rejected a UN proposal aimed at ending heavy fighting in the city of Aleppo.

Under the proposal, eastern Aleppo would have remained under opposition control if rebel fighters withdrew.

Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid al-Muallem, who met the UN envoy to the worn-torn country on Sunday, called the idea a “violation of national sovereignty.”

UN special envoy, Staffan De Mistura said that while he recognized the government's need to maintain sovereignty, Aleppo should be treated as a special case.

Eight children died in the government-held west of the city today after rebel forces targeted a school, according to state media.

A barrel bomb killed a family of six people in the rebel-held east of the city.  

Local medics told Reuters the family had suffocated to death because the barrel bomb was laced with chlorine gas.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which monitors the war, confirmed the bombing but could not confirm that chlorine gas was used.

Damascus has denied use of the gas, which would contravene the international Chemical Weapons Convention.

Medics and residents in rebel-held areas have often accused the Syrian military of using chlorine in barrel bomb attacks, but the difficulty of reaching besieged districts makes it hard for international agencies to verify the claims.

Syria and Russia have also accused the rebels of using toxic gas in shells, including during a major assault on the western fringe of the government-held zone in Aleppo early this month.

According to reports from Medecins sans Frontieres, there are now no functioning hospitals in the eastern part of the city - after the only specialised paediatric hospital in the area came under attack yesterday.

The airstrikes destroyed three floors of the building and have put the hospital out of service.

Three other hospitals have also taken direct hits over the past few days, resulting in casualties amongst staff and patients and leaving two key surgical hospitals and the largest general hospital in the area out of service.

In a statement this afternoon, the EU’s humanitarian aid commissioner, Christos Stylianides condemned the ongoing bombardment of the city.

"The relentless bombing of East Aleppo by the Syrian regime in the last few days has now left hundreds of thousands of besieged civilians without access to food and to functioning hospitals," he said.

“This comes after the refusal to allow medical and other urgent humanitarian supplies into the city during the pause in the fighting. 

“These unacceptable violations of international humanitarian law could amount to war crimes and must cease, and the airstrikes must be stopped to allow humanitarian aid delivery into East Aleppo and the evacuation of wounded civilians.”

Around 240 people have been killed in bombing in eastern Aleppo - and the rebel-held countryside to the west of the city - since Tuesday according to the SOHR.