October 04, 2016 - 8:54 AM
BEIRUT - The Latest on developments in Syria after the collapse of a U.S. and Russia-brokered cease-fire two weeks ago, mainly in the rebel-held east (all times local):
The Russian military says it has beefed up its forces in Syria with state-of-the-art air defence missiles, a move that follows Washington's suspension of contacts with Russia over Syria.
The Defence Ministry said Tuesday that a battery of the S-300 air defence missile systems has been deployed to Syria to protect a Russian navy facility in the Syrian port of Tartus and Russian navy ships in the area.
The deployment will add punch to the Russian military force in Syria, which has long-range S-400 missile defence systems and an array of other surface-to-air missiles at the Hemeimeem air base in Syria's coastal province of Latakia.
The U.S. announced Monday that it was suspending diplomatic contacts with Russia over Syria after trading blame with Moscow for the collapse of a Syrian cease-fire two weeks ago.
The Russian foreign ministry says its embassy compound in the Syrian capital of Damascus has come under shelling from rebel groups.
The ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that the embassy was shelled on Monday, with one mortar landing and exploding near the residential compound and two more by the embassy building.
The ministry said no one was harmed and blamed the attack on two rebel groups, including al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria which was formerly known as the Nusra Front.
The situation in Syria has deteriorated considerably since the collapse of a U.S.-Russia-brokered cease-fire two weeks ago.
The ministry said the attack is the result of a U.S. policy and its allies which "provokes further bloodshed in Syria."
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is calling on the U.S. and Russia to resume talks on a cease-fire in Syria after Washington suspended diplomatic contacts with Moscow over ending the war.
Ban told reporters in Strasbourg, France, on Tuesday that he is set to hold talks soon with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and senior Russian officials in Brussels.
He says: "I will strongly urge (them) to resume their negotiations so that there will be a cessation of hostilities."
Ban says a cease-fire is vital to supply aid to the besieged city of Aleppo and give space for political talks to start.
Syrian state media are saying that rebel shelling of government-held neighbourhoods of the northern city of Aleppo has killed six people and wounded 47.
State TV says some of the shells hit the dorms area at the Aleppo University on Tuesday, killing two students and wounding eight. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group that tracks the civil war, says two people were killed in the shelling.
Aleppo has been the focus of the fighting in recent months as governed forces have besieged all eastern, rebel-held neighbourhoods of the city. Syria's largest.
The Observatory says 420 people have been killed and more than a thousand have been wounded in and around Aleppo since a cease-fire brokered by Russia and the U.S. collapsed two weeks ago. Most of the dead have been in rebel-held parts of the city, which has been pounded by Syrian and Russian warplanes.
The U.N. human rights chief is decrying an unfolding "calamity" in the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo where government forces continue to strike besieged, rebel-held parts in the east.
Zeid Raad al-Hussein in an appeal on Tuesday called for initiatives such as preventing U.N. Security Council's permanent members from vetoing council resolutions to help prevent severe crimes.
He says the Security Council should adopt rules to limit veto use in cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide. Russia, an ally of Syria's government, holds veto power along with the United States, France, Britain and China.
Zeid says that attacks over the last 10 days in rebel parts of Aleppo, including airstrikes by Syrian and Russian forces, have been "the most intense" there since Syria's civil war began in 2011.
Syrian rebels say pro-government forces are pressing their assault on the eastern, rebel-held neighbourhoods of Aleppo, this time attacking the city from the south in a bid to penetrate opposition-controlled areas.
The Islamic Front rebel coalition said on Twitter on Tuesday that its factions repelled an advance on the Sheikh Saeed neighbourhood.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the government offensive is accompanied by airstrikes on the contested neighbourhoods.
The monitoring group says more than 400 civilians have been killed in and around Aleppo since the collapse of a U.S. and Russian-brokered cease-fire two weeks ago, mainly in the rebel-held east of the embattled city.
In the offensive, health facilities and hospitals have repeatedly come under attack.
News from © The Associated Press, 2016