Russia Warns Against US Attack on Syrian Forces

Syrian pro-government forces take part in an operation to take control of Aleppo’s Suleiman al-Halabi neighborhood. (File Photo)Syrian pro-government forces take part in an operation to take control of Aleppo’s Suleiman al-Halabi neighborhood. (File Photo)

Russia warned the United States on Saturday against carrying out any attacks on Syrian government forces, saying it would have repercussions across the Middle East as government forces captured a hill on the edge of the northern city of Aleppo under the cover of airstrikes.

Meanwhile, airstrikes on Aleppo struck a hospital in the eastern militant-held neighborhood of Sakhour on Saturday, putting it out of service, according to the Local Coordination Committees and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. They said at least one person was killed in the airstrike, AP reported.

Russian news agencies quoted Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying that a US intervention against the Syrian Army “will lead to terrible, tectonic consequences not only on the territory of this country but also in the region on the whole”.

She said regime change in Syria would create a vacuum that would be “quickly filled” by “terrorists of all stripes”.

US-Russian tensions over Syria have escalated since the breakdown of a ceasefire last month, with each side blaming the other for its failure. Syrian government forces backed by Russian warplanes have launched a major onslaught on militant-held parts of Aleppo.

Syrian troops pushed ahead in their offensive in Aleppo on Saturday capturing the strategic Um al-Shuqeef hill near the Palestinian refugee camp of Handarat that government forces captured from militants earlier this week, according to state TV.

The hill is on the northern edge of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and former commercial center.

The powerful ultraconservative Ahrar al-Sham militant group said militants regained control Saturday of several positions they lost in Aleppo in the Bustan al-Basha neighborhood.

State media said 13 people were wounded when militants shelled the central government-held neighborhood of Midan.

In the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, warplanes of the US-led coalition destroyed several bridges on the Euphrates River, according to Syrian state news agency SANA and Deir el-Zour 24, an activist media collective. The province is a stronghold of the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.

SANA said that among the bridges destroyed was the Tarif Bridge that links Deir el-Zour with the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, the extremists’ de-facto capital.

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