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Syria army announces offensive on rebel-held Aleppo

Syrian pro-regime fighters patrol the Ramussa area south of the city of Aleppo, on September 21, 2016Syria’s army announced the launch Thursday of an offensive to retake the rebel-held east of the battleground city of Aleppo, warning residents to keep away from positions held by anti-regime fighters. “The military operations command announces the start of operations in eastern districts of the city and calls on residents to stay away from the positions of terrorist groups,” it said in a statement carried by state news agency SANA, using the regime’s term for the opposition. The announcement came just minutes after the United States and Russia convened a last-ditch meeting in New York to save their Syria ceasefire plan and followed several hours of intensive bombardment that left Aleppo in flames.

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