Attack on Syrian army will lead to terrible consequences, Russia tells US
Russia warned the United States on Saturday against carrying out any attacks on Syrian government forces, saying it would have repercussions across the Middle East as government forces captured a hill on the edge of the northern city of Aleppo under the cover of airstrikes.
Russian news agencies quoted Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying that a US intervention against the Syrian army “will lead to terrible, tectonic consequences not only on the territory of this country but also in the region on the whole.”
She said regime change in Syria would create a vacuum that would be “quickly filled” by “terrorists of all stripes.” US-Russian tensions over Syria have escalated since the breakdown of a cease-fire last month, with each side blaming the other for its failure.
Syrian government forces, backed by Russian warplanes, have launched a major onslaught on rebel-held parts of the northern city of Aleppo.
Syrian troops pushed ahead in their offensive in Aleppo on Saturday, capturing the strategic Um al-Shuqeef hill near the Palestinian refugee camp of Handarat that government forces had captured from rebels earlier this week, according to state TV. The hill is on the northern edge of the Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and former commercial centre.
The powerful ultraconservative Ahrar al-Sham militant group said rebels regained control on Saturday of several positions they lost in Aleppo in the Bustan al-Basha neighbourhood.
State media said 13 people were wounded when rebels shelled the central government-held neighbourhood of Midan. Airstrikes on Aleppo struck a clinic in the eastern rebel-held neighbourhood of Sakhour putting it out of service, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees. They said one person was killed in the airstrike.
Opposition activists have blamed the President Bashar Assad’s forces and Russia for airstrikes that hit Civil Defense units and clinics in the city where eastern rebel-held neighbourhoods are besieged by government forces and pro-government militiamen.
On Friday, international medical humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders demanded that the Syrian government and its allies “halt the indiscriminate bombing that has killed and wounded hundreds of civilians, many of them children,” over the past week in Aleppo.