BEIRUT — The Latest on Syria’s civil war and the escalating violence in the contested northern city of Aleppo (all times local):
Britain and France are calling on the U.N. Security Council to hold an urgent meeting on Syria’s contested city of Aleppo which has been engulfed in an intense wave of attacks.
Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon should brief the council on the situation in the city, which was Syria’s largest before the war, “as a matter of top priority.” France’s U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre echoed the request.
“Aleppo is burning … and its civilians are being killed,” Rycroft told the council after members adopted a resolution demanding an end to attacks on hospitals and medical workers in Syria and other war zones.
Delattre said Aleppo “has been under constant bombardment since 2012” and described the city as the “martyred center of the resistance” to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has raised prospects of revival of a truce in Syria, saying he hopes a cease-fire covering the city of Aleppo would be announced “in the nearest future, even in the coming hours.”
He says the United States and Russia aim to create a center for rapid response to cease-fire violations in Syria.
At a news conference following a meeting Tuesday with U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura, Lavrov said the center would be located in Geneva and is expected to start operating within a few days.
The Syrian military says it’s repelling a wide-scale attack launched by “terrorists” on the northern city of Aleppo.
An army statement on Tuesday says the attack was preceded by heavy shelling of residential areas of the city that led to civilian casualties, including at a hospital that was hit in the shelling.
The statement says the multi-pronged attack on Aleppo was launched by armed terrorist groups, including al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, the Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham and the Army of Islam.
It says the Syrian “armed forces are currently working on repelling the attack and appropriately returning fire.”
Syrian TV says dozens of people have been killed and wounded in rebel rocket fire that hit government-held neighborhoods of Aleppo. One of the rockets hit the Dubeet hospital in the central neighborhood of Muhafaza, killed four people.
The U.N. envoy for Syria and Russia’s foreign minister have begun talks in Moscow about reviving the stalled cease-fire in Syria. Staffan de Mistura is also expected to push for the truce to include the contested city of Aleppo, which has seen an escalation in violence in recent weeks.
De Mistura’s meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday comes a day after he met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva.
In opening remarks, da Mistura said that “we need to make sure the cessation of hostilities is brought back on track.”
In Syria on Tuesday, Syrian rebels and government forces were shelling each other’s neighborhoods in Aleppo, leaving several dead and scores wounded on both sides.
Syrian state TV says dozens of people have been killed or wounded when rebels fired rockets into a government-held neighborhood of the northern city of Aleppo.
The TV says one of the rockets fired on Tuesday hit the Dubeet hospital in the central neighborhood of Muhafaza. The TV did not give a breakdown of the casualties.
A doctor at another Aleppo clinic, the Al-Razzi hospital, says four people were killed and more than 30 were wounded when the rocket hit Dubeet.
The doctor says rebel bombardment of government-held parts of Aleppo on Tuesday killed a total of 12 people and wounded more than 70. The physician spoke on condition of anonymity for fear for his own safety.
More than 250 civilians have been killed in the past two weeks in Aleppo.
—Albert Aji in Damascus, Syria
Syrian state media say new rebel shelling of government-held parts of the northern city of Aleppo has killed at least seven people and wounded 35.
Syrian TV says the shells hit several neighborhoods during morning rush hour in contested Aleppo, which has been the center of violence in recent weeks.
Tuesday’s attack comes as diplomatic focus moves to Moscow where the U.N. envoy for Syria is arriving for talks on restoring a piecemeal cease-fire that would also include Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and once commercial center.
The activist Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the shelling, saying there are casualties.
The Observatory says more than 250 civilians have been killed in 12 days of violence in both government- and rebel-held parts of the city.
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