News / Middle East

    Airstrikes Rock Aleppo; Russia Says Peace Talks to Resume

    • A man waves his arms at a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad in the al-Shaar district, Aleppo, Feb. 9, 2014. 
    • A man walks at a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad in the al-Shaar district, Aleppo, Feb. 9, 2014. 
    • A boy sits next to a trolley containing belongings at the Karaj al-Hajez crossing, Aleppo, Feb. 9, 2014. 
    • Civilians carry their belongings as they walk at the Karaj al-Hajez crossing, a passageway separating the Bustan al-Qasr district, which is under the rebels' control and the Al-Masharqa district, an area controlled by the Assad regime, Aleppo, Feb.  9, 2014. 
    • People wheel a sick man on a makeshift stretcher at the Karaj al-Hajez crossing, Aleppo, Feb. 9, 2014. 
    • Boys walk along a damaged street in Deir al-Zor, eastern Syria, Feb. 6, 2014.
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter sits amid the rubble of damaged buildings in Deir al-Zor, eastern Syria, Feb. 6, 2014.
    • People sit on the top of a truck at the Syrian border crossing of Bab al-Hawa, at the Syrian-Turkish border, Feb. 6, 2014.
    • Fighters from the Amjad al-Islam brigades stand near an improvised artillery weapon in eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus, Feb. 4, 2014.
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter holds a teapot as he runs to avoid snipers in Deir al-Zor, Feb. 4, 2014.
    • People walk along a street as men ride on a motorcycle in Deir al-Zor, Feb. 4, 2014.
    • Free Syrian Army fighters take cover during the launch of a homemade rocket towards forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad near the Justice Palace and the Citadel of Aleppo, Feb. 4, 2014.
    • A man pulls a trolley as a woman walks behind at the Karaj al-Hajez crossing, a passageway separating Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr, which is under the rebels' control and Al-Masharqa neighborhood, an area controlled by the regime, Feb. 4, 2014.
    • This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows a U.N. relief worker giving food supplies to a Palestinian woman in a wheelchair at the gate of the besieged Yarmouk refugee camp on the southern edge of Damascus, Feb. 4, 2014.
    • This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows residents of the besieged Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp carrying their belongings as they flee the camp on the southern edge of Damascus, Feb. 4, 2014.
    Images from Syria
    VOA News
    ​Syrian activist groups say the government renewed air raids over the northern city of Aleppo on Tuesday, after Monday airstrikes left about 30 people dead.

    Opposition groups said a mosque that was being used as a school is among the buildings hit by an explosive device described as a barrel bomb. They say the blast killed five people.

    There was no immediate confirmation from the Syrian government.  The state-run SANA news agency says a women and a child were killed in Aleppo, on Tuesday, after "terrorists" fired a mortar shell.

    In recent days, forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have been slowly advancing into rebel-held areas of Aleppo which were seized by the opposition in 2012.

    In another development, Russian officials said they expect the Syrian government to resume peace talks with the opposition next week, following an opening round of negotiations in Geneva that ended Friday with little progress.

    The statements on Tuesday came as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hosted Syrian National Coalition President Ahmad Jarba for a meeting in Moscow.

    Lavrov said Russia wants to keep regular contacts with the opposition, and is working with all sides to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

    "We urge our European and American partners, the countries in the region to choose the same approach.  We are convinced they should work with all sides in the Syrian conflict without exception - I mean of course political sides, and not terrorist groups," Lavrov said.

    Jarba said the opposition also intends to continue the talks, and that Russia plays an important role in trying to reach a political solution.

    Also Tuesday, Russian state media quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov as saying Syria plans to remove a large shipment of chemical weapons this month.

    The shipments are part of a plan to rid Syria of chemical weapons by the middle of the year.  U.S. officials last week criticized Syria for what they said was the slow pace at which the process is progressing.

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