Syrian residents in opposition-held eastern part of the city of Aleppo woke up to a fresh wave of airstrikes today amid intense clashes between government forces and rebels part of a devastating military campaign by Syria and Russia that the opposition says has killed dozens of people in the past week.
President Bashar Assad, meanwhile, expressed his intention to recapture the northern city's rebel-held eastern neighborhoods, saying that a military victory in Aleppo would provide the Syrian army with a "springboard" from which to liberate other areas of the country.
"You have to keep cleaning this area and to push the terrorists to Turkey to go back to where they came from, or to kill them," Assad said in an interview with a Russian media outlet, Komsomolskaya Pravda, released yesterday.
"There's no other option," he added.
Syrian government forces have encircled the eastern half of Aleppo, besieging tens of thousands of people and pounding the territory with airstrikes on daily basis.
The siege and deadly bombardment has caused an international outcry with a number of countries and groups accusing Syria and Russia of war crimes in connection with attacks on medical facilities and aid convoys.
President Barack Obama planned to convene his National Security Council for a highly anticipated meeting about Syria today.
Having cut off diplomatic talks with Russia after a cease-fire in Syria failed, the Obama administration has been at a loss to find a new viable strategy to stem the violence even as the bloodshed in Aleppo and elsewhere continues to mount.
The violence also gives additional urgency to the upcoming meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry on efforts to find a peace deal in Syria in Switzerland on Saturday.
It will be the first face-to-face contact between the two men since Washington broke off bilateral diplomatic contact with Moscow earlier this month.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights today reported dozens of overnight airstrikes on eastern Aleppo. It added that clashes are taking place on the northern and southern edges of the city.
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