Russia continues to third day of long range air strikes

Russian long-range bombers launched a third day of air strikes against Islamist targets in Syria from an Iranian air base. The Defense Ministry in Moscow said the bombers struck Islamic State targets in the Syrian province of Deir Az-zor. It said the military aircraft had taken off from bases in both Russia and Iran and destroyed six command posts and a large number of fighters and military equipment. Russia’s use of the Iranian air base comes amid intense fighting for the Syrian city of Aleppo, where rebels are battling Syrian government forces backed by the Iranian and Russian militaries, and as Moscow and Washington are working towards an agreement on Syria that could see them cooperate more closely. The United Nations has called for an urgent humanitarian ceasefire in Aleppo, and is pushing for a resumption of peace talks that have failed to end the conflict which began in 2011 and in which more than half a million people have been killed and some 11 million displaced.

UN Special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said that no aid convoys had reached besieged areas of Syria in the Month of August and that he had suspended a humanitarian task force meeting until next week as a signal to major power. De Mistura said a 48 hours’ ceasefire in the northern city of Aleppo is imperative to assist the two million people in the besieged city. He noted that there was a lack of access to electricity and clean water creating a high-risk of disease. “In other words if there is, and we are asking, and I again insist on behalf of the Secretary General of the U.N., and of all the Syrian people, to have a 48-hour pause in Aleppo, to start with, that would require some heavy lifting from not only the two co-chairs (Russia and the United States) but also those who have an influence on those who are fighting on the ground,” said de Mistura.