October 03, 2016 - 2:25 PM
BEIRUT - The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):
The U.N. envoy for Syria "deeply regrets" the failure of a U.S.-Russia diplomatic effort to achieve a cease-fire in Syria.
Staffan de Mistura said the United Nations will continue to push "energetically for a political solution" in Syria and "will never abandon the Syrian people to a destiny of endless violent conflict."
De Mistura's office in Geneva said Monday he regretted the U.S.-Russia push to revive a truce "did not reach a positive conclusion."
Earlier, the U.S. suspended bilateral contacts with Russia amid new attacks on the rebel-held districts in the northern city of Aleppo, saying Russia had not lived up to terms of a recent agreement on a truce and humanitarian aid deliveries.
De Mistura's office said a humanitarian task force for Syria chaired by the U.S. and Russia would continue its work.
Russia's U.N. ambassador says his country is considering a French-drafted resolution urging an immediate truce in the Syrian city of Aleppo, but that Moscow has some doubts about its workability.
"The main practical thing, a new kind of innovation in that draft resolution is the idea of creating some kind of a new monitoring mechanism for the cease-fire— but there is one in Geneva and it is a mechanism which has been there for a long time and frankly has not been used very effectively," Vitaly Churkin said Monday, blaming the U.S. for being unable to rein-in "their numerous unidentified allies on the ground."
"They seem to have lost control and one of the consequences of that is they have been unable to distance the moderate groups from Nusra," he said. The Nusra Front is linked to a--Qaida.
Syrian activists and a Kurdish news agency say a suicide bomber has struck a wedding hall just outside the northeastern Syrian city of Hassakeh.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists inside Syria, says the attack killed 14 people, with the toll expected to rise. The Kurdish Hawar news agency confirmed the attack but did not provide a toll.
Syrian Kurdish forces control most of the Hassakeh province, but the Syrian government maintains some strongholds there.
Islamic State militants have repeatedly targeted the Kurds, who have proven to be among the most effective ground forces battling the extremist group.
An al-Qaida-linked group in Syria says one of its senior commanders, who was close to al-Qaida's top leader Ayman al-Zawahri, has been killed in an airstrike.
Monday's announcement by the Fatah al-Sham Front, formerly known as the Nusra Front, came shortly after the Pentagon said the U.S. had targeted a prominent member of the group in Syria. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis would not provide further details.
A Twitter account run by the group says Ahmed Salama Mabrouk, a veteran Egyptian jihadist known as Abu Farag al-Masri, was killed in a U.S.-led coalition airstrike in the northern Idlib province, which is controlled by an insurgent alliance that includes the Fatah al-Sham Front.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on activists inside Syria, says Mabrouk was killed when his vehicle was hit near the border with Turkey.
Mabrouk was imprisoned in his native Egypt in 1981 in the sweep following the assassination of President Anwar Sadat. He later travelled to Afghanistan, where he became close to al-Qaida's leader al-Zawahri before travelling to Syria.
A Syrian monitoring group says more than 400 civilians have been killed in and around the northern city of Aleppo since a U.S-and Russian-brokered cease-fire collapsed two weeks ago.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says Monday that Russian and Syrian warplanes, and government artillery, has killed at least 387 civilians in the besieged rebel-held eastern Aleppo and its rural surroundings, including 72 children and 24 women. Most were killed inside the city.
The short-lived cease-fire, which collapsed Sept. 19, was followed by an intensive bombing campaign that hit infrastructure, hospitals and water stations in the besieged eastern part of Aleppo, which houses 275,000 people.
Government forces also launched a limited ground operation into eastern Aleppo, which was captured by the rebels in 2012.
The Observatory says the opposition has shelled the adjacent government-held neighbourhoods of western Aleppo, killing 19 people, including five children and seven women. It says the total number killed in and around the city is 406.
Turkey says its participation in possible offensives to free Islamic State-held strongholds in Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria would be conditional upon the exclusion of Syrian Kurdish forces from the operations.
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus, told reporters Monday that "one of the basic conditions for Turkey's participation in these operations is for the PYD and YPG not to be included."
He was referring to the People's Protection Units, the YPG, and its political arm, the Democratic Union Party, or PYD.
The United States regards the Syrian Kurds as one of the most effective front-line forces in the battle against IS. Ankara considers them terrorists because of their affiliation to Kurdish separatists in Turkey and opposes their territorial expansion in northern Syria.
On Monday, Kurtulmus reiterated a Turkish demand that all Syrian Kurdish forces, which liberated the IS-held Manbij region in northern Syria this summer, retreat to the east.
He says "an important number have retreated," but "elements are still present, and we are once again requesting that the United States keeps to its promise and ensures that the PYD/YPG elements move east of the Euphrates (River)."
Syria activists say warplanes have once again targeted one of the largest trauma and emergency hospitals in the besieged, rebel-held part of Aleppo, this time rendering it "not salvageable."
Adham Sahloul, of the U.S-based Syrian American Medical Society, which supports the hospital, says a bunker-busting bomb punched a 10-meter-deep crater where it landed Monday at the hospital's front entrance.
Sahloul says at least three maintenance staff were killed, including one found 100 metres (330 feet) away, apparently thrown by the impact of the explosion.
The hospital has been targeted twice in the last week.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the bombing, but put the death toll at six.
Sahloul says most of the hospital's facilities were set up underground to protect it. He says there are fears the rest of the building could collapse. Rescue workers are still searching for people under the rubble.
The IS-linked Aamaq news agency reports that the extremist group has claimed responsibility for suicide attacks in the central Syrian city of Hama that killed two people and wounded 12.
The attack was carried out by two suicide bombers wearing explosives-laden belts near the ruling Baath party office and a police station, Aamaq reported on Monday.
Syria's state news agency SANA reported earlier in the day that two suicide bombings had struck the central city of Hama killing two people and wounding at least 12.
SANA said a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-packed belt in al-Assi Square in Hama city, and that the other suicide bombing occurred 15 minutes later.
Hama is Syria's fourth-largest city and has seen relatively little fighting in recent years as the country's conflict rages on. It is firmly under the control of Assad's forces.
Syria's state news agency says two suicide bombings that struck in the central city of Hama have killed two people and wounded at least 12.
SANA says a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-packed belt in al-Assi Square in Hama city on Monday, while the other suicide bombing occurred 15 minutes later.
SANA says one of the agency's photographers, Ibrahim Ajaj, was wounded as he was covering the explosions, adding that he is in stable condition.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the two explosions killed two people and wounded 14.
Hama is Syria's fourth largest city and has been relatively quiet in recent years. It is firmly under the control of Assad's forces.
Syrian state TV says a suicide attacker wearing an explosives belt has blown himself up on a main square in the central city of Hama, causing an unspecified number of casualties.
The TV says the attack occurred on Monday near the busy Assi Square in Hama. It gave no further details.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says two explosions were heard in Hama.
Hama is Syria's fourth largest city and has been relatively quiet in recent years. It is firmly under the control of President Bashar Assad's forces.
The suicide attack came as insurgent groups have been on the offensive north of the city, which is the capital of the province that carries the same name.
Qatar says it has closed a health centre it was running in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo after the facility was struck by bombs over the weekend.
The Qatar Red Crescent says four bombs were dropped from a helicopter on the hospital in the rebel-held neighbourhood of Sakhour on Saturday.
QRS said on Monday that the attack killed two patients, wounded eight and destroyed half the centre. Initially, the Qataris had reopened the facility, which was originally built by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, in April.
Dr. Hashem Darwish, the head of the health program at the QRCS's mission in Turkey, called the attack a war crime.
The QRC statement came two days after doctors and activists said bombing had put the hospital known as M10 out of service.
A relief group and Syrian opposition monitors say airstrikes have damaged and put of service one of the country's most secure hospitals, which had been dug into a mountain.
The International Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations, or UOSSM, says the Dr. Hasan Al-Araj — also known as "Cave Hospital" and located in the central province of Hama — was struck twice on Sunday.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday that Russian warplanes carried out the attacks that hit the hospital near the central village of Kfar Zeita, adding that it's one of the largest hospitals in rebel-held areas of the country.
UOSSM said there were minor injuries from the attack.
Syrian and Russian warplanes have been blamed for a series of attacks that have damaged hospitals and clinics in rebel-held parts of Syria, mostly in the northern city Aleppo.
Turkish military officials say 15 Syrian opposition fighters have been killed in an ongoing battle with Islamic State militants in northern Syria.
The officials also say that about 35 Syrian rebels have been wounded in the fighting, which seeks to capture seven residential districts south of the town of al-Rai. According to a statement emailed Monday, "intense" clashes had taken place in the regions of Boztepe, Hardanah and Turkmen Bari.
The statement says the casualties took place over the last 24 hours.
Turkey sent troops and tanks into Syria in August to help Syrian rebels re-take IS strongholds near the border and curb the advance of Syrian Kurdish militia, which Ankara accuses of links with Turkey's outlawed Kurdish rebels.
Turkish officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
News from © The Associated Press, 2016