Germany called for making no-fly zone over Northern Syria after one week of the military operation by Assad-Russian forces, aiming at retrieving Aleppo from the rebels’ hands and ending the five-year crisis, killed about 450 civilians.
Assad regime, backed by Russia, said on Thursday it was starting a new wide offensive to recapture the rebel-held parts of Aleppo after a week-long ceasefire was declared officially over on Monday. the offensive includes a ground assault, artillery bombardment, and intensive airstrikes.
Since 19 September, more than 450 civilians have been killed and more than 1700 injured in rebel-held areas of Aleppo province, including the besieged eastern part of the city, Civil defense workers said.
German chancellor Angela Merkel stressed that the brutal violence on the citizens of Aleppo “is completely unacceptable” and that “we have seen very large setbacks during the past few days”.
In Berlin, Merkel expressed scepticism about the possibilities of establishing a no-fly zone over parts of Syria and said that more efforts to reach a ceasefire were needed.
During a joint press conference with the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in the capital Berlin yesterday, Merkel said that with regards to improving opportunities for a ceasefire, this clearly depends on Russia and on the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
The German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for the imposition of a temporary no-fly ban on military aircraft in Syria for up to seven days after an aid convoy near Aleppo was bombed on the 19th of September. The US President Barack Obama has repeatedly rejected this proposal.
With regards to refugees from Syria and other areas around the world that are plagued with crises, the German Chancellor confirmed Europe’s “humanitarian commitment” and noted that differentiating between Christian and Muslim refugees is not in line with European values. She said: “We do not differentiate between people belonging to the Christian faith and people belonging to the Islamic faith”, and stressed the need for this to be reflected in the policy of all European countries.
The Assad regime forces, backed by Russian air power, Iranian ground forces and Shi’ite militia fighters from Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, has been tightening its grip on rebel-held districts of Aleppo this year, and this summer achieved a long-held goal of fully encircling the area.
Recovering full control of the rebels’ last significant urban area would be the most important victory of the war so far for Assad, strengthening his control over Syria’s most populous and strategically important regions.
The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.