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July 3, 2022

Syrian, Iranian officials meet as fresh attacks pummel Aleppo

ALEPPO – Syria’s foreign minister met with his Iranian counterpart on Sunday, with both sides decrying what they call an international plot against the Syrian regime, CNN reports.“I can tell you that we are facing a global war against Syria, and as a proud Syrian I can tell you that it is a great honor to be part of a great country that is facing a ferocious attack by certain countries,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem told reporters in Tehran. He also described a “media campaign” by the United States and others about chemical weapons in Syria.Moallem also delivered ominous words about the battle for Aleppo, Syria’s largest city that has seen more than a week of clashes between regime and rebel fighters.“Since last week, (opposition fighters) planned for whatever they called the ‘great Damascus battle,’ but they have failed after one week. That’s why they moved to Aleppo, and I can assure you that they will fail,” he said.“Syria is now stronger and will move ahead in facing the aggression against our nation,” Moallem said. The Iranian foreign minister showed his support for the Syrian regime, saying Israel is behind “is a conspiracy against Syria.”“It is completely ridiculous and delusive to believe that there is a possibility of creating a vacuum in the leadership in Syria,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said. “We call upon the people of the region to be fully aware and not to move in the wrong direction because there will be severe consequences that will go beyond the borders of the region to the outside world.” Meanwhile, with relentless attacks rocking Aleppo, the head of a prominent Syrian opposition group is pleading for world allies to help arm rebels.“Our friends and allies will bear responsibility for the terrifying massacres that will happen in Aleppo if they don’t move soon. This regime is planning for a big massacre in Aleppo,” Abdulbaset Sieda, head of the Syrian National Council, told reporters in Abu Dhabi. He urged allies to act outside of the U.N. Security Council, as resolutions there can be vetoed.“The rebels now are fighting with primitive types of weapons against the killing machine. We need weapons that will allow us to stop tanks and planes. This is what we need,” Sieda said.Aleppo, the commercial and cultural center of Syria, took another pounding Sunday morning with intense artillery shelling, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said.At least nine of the 24 people killed Sunday were in Aleppo, the LCC said. In recent days, the shelling in Aleppo has been accompanied by clashes between regime and rebel fighters in and around the city, the LCC said. Syrian TV said “terrorists” suffered heavy losses after clashes in three neighborhoods.Tanks pounded Aleppo on Saturday, a sign that a much-feared government offensive in the critical city has started.“Many people have been killed. More tanks have arrived at a military school in northern Aleppo and started shelling for the first time from this location today,” Deama, an activist in Aleppo, said Saturday.CNN isn’t using her full name because disclosing it could put her in danger.She said the regime is shelling displaced people from Homs and Idlib who’ve taken refuge in Aleppo, and thousands of them have had to evacuate yet again.

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