NEWS BRIEF The bombing in Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, worsened over the weekend with hundreds dead and wounded, and in response the UN Security Council called an emergency meeting Sunday that showed how divisive political talks have become: the British ambassador accused Russia and Syria of war crimes; the Russian ambassador said Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad had showed “admirable restraint”; and the U.S. ambassador left in protest.
The situation in Aleppo has quickly deteriorated ever since a short-lived cease-fire ended last week. A U.S. bombing mission struck Syrian government forces (the U.S. claimed the bombs were meant for Islamic State militants). Hours later the UN said an aid convoy carrying food and hygiene kits for tens of thousands of people were struck by bombs. The U.S. blamed Russia, and Russia blamed the U.S.
In the past weekend, the U.S. said Russia and Syria have launched 150 airstrikes in 72 hours on the rebel-held portion of Aleppo. Early reports put the death toll at nearly 200, with about 400 injured, 60 of whom were children.
The eastern part of the divided city is held by rebels opposed to Assad. Fighters and civilians there have built schools, clinics, and shelters underground to protect the facilities from constant shelling. On Sunday, the United Kingdom’s ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, accused Russia and Syria of using bunker-buster bombs to target citizens in these shelters.