DAMASCUS – Moscow is sending more warplanes to Syria, in support of Bashar al-Assad’s government. On Friday, officials said that the planes would assist the regime in its war against rebels and radical Islamists.
The Russian deployment comes amid a major regime push into rebel-held eastern Aleppo. Russia has supported the offensive with air power and logistics.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told US Secretary of State John Kerry, that Moscow was ready to consider additional ways “to normalise the situation in Aleppo.”
However, Lavrov said that Russia is also prepared to intensify its air campaign against Islamists in Aleppo.
Regaining Aleppo from the rebels would be a main victory for the regime.
Ayman Azzawi, a Syrian journalist and political analyst, told ARA News: “The battle for Aleppo could determine the future of the ongoing conflict in Syria.”
“Aleppo is the largest and most important city involved in this war, and neither side would give up on it easily,” he said.
Moscow and Damascus reportedly spurned a US-Russian brokered ceasefire in favor of military options.
Russian FM Lavrov objected to those reports. He argued that the ceasefire principally collapsed because of Washington’s failure to separate “moderate rebel groups” from “terrorists.” Lavrov said in failing to meet its commitments, Washington had allowed Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as the Jabhat al-Nusra, to violate the truce.
The United States made clear on Friday that it would not carry through on Wednesday’s threat, to halt diplomacy if Russia did not take immediate steps to deconflict.
Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi
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