Air strikes pound Syria rebels as China urged to help | Pakistan Today

Air strikes pound Syria rebels as China urged to help

Syrian warplanes pounded rebel bastions on Wednesday after a day of fighting that left more than 180 dead, as UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi urged China to help end the violence.
In a week that has seen unprecedented air strikes, regime fighter jets again pummelled rebel-controlled areas east of Damascus where clashes have raged for months.
At least five raids were carried out in the capital’s eastern suburbs, where 30 civilians, including five children, were killed in air strikes and fighting the day before, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
They were among 182 people killed across Syria on Tuesday, said the Observatory, adding more than 36,000 people had now died in the 19-month conflict.
Analysts say the regime has boosted air strikes in recent days in a bid to reverse opposition gains on the ground, especially in Syria’s north, and to prevent the rebels from taking control of further territory around the capital.
Fierce clashes erupted Wednesday in the northwestern province of Idlib, where rebels attacked highway military checkpoints and battles raged over the rebel-held town of Maaret al-Numan and the Wadi Daif army base.
After the heaviest wave of air strikes yet on Monday, on Tuesday a fighter jet hit targets inside Damascus for the first time, dropping four bombs on an eastern neighbourhood near to an opposition-held suburb.
Rebels also claimed responsibility for the killing of a senior air force general, Abdullah Mahmud al-Khalidi, whom state television said had been assassinated by “terrorists”.
Visiting Beijing, peace envoy Brahimi said he hoped China would play an active role in helping to bring a halt to Syria’s violence.
Greeting Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in front of reporters, Brahimi said he hoped “China can play an active role in solving the events in Syria,” without elaborating.
Both China and Russia have exercised their veto in the UN Security Council to block resolutions aimed at putting more pressure on President Bashar al-Assad.
Yang thanked Brahimi for his work and said he hoped their discussions — their third in two months — would promote “mutual understanding” and “the appropriate handling of the Syrian issue”.

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