Political News

The Latest: Amnesty fears Syria detaining men in Aleppo

Posted November 28

— The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):

10:06 p.m.

Amnesty International says it has received reports of Syrian security forces detaining men in Aleppo areas that have returned to government control.

The London-based human rights group warned in a statement Monday of the potential for revenge attacks, arbitrary detention, torture, harassment, and kidnappings against people formerly living under opposition control.

"Given the Syrian government's long and dark history of arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances on a mass scale it is even more crucial that civilians are protected in newly captured areas of Aleppo city," said Samah Hadid, a director at Amnesty International's Beirut office.

The statement alleged that men were taken from the recently captured neighborhood of Masaken Hanano for interrogation at a nearby airport. The report could not be independently confirmed.

5:28 p.m.

Member states of the world's chemical weapons watchdog have slammed Syria for using poison gas during its civil war and for failing to fully explain the scope of its chemical weapons program.

Syria, however, used Monday's annual Conference of the States Parties of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to reject reports it used such weapons as "part of a coordinated and repeated campaign of lies."

Australia's ambassador to the Netherlands, Brett Mason, has told the conference in the Hague that chemical attacks in Syria are "the most serious violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention in its history."

A joint investigation with the U.N. determined this year that the Syrian government was behind three attacks involving chlorine gas and the Islamic State extremist group used mustard gas.

5:11 p.m.

Syrian opposition activists say an airstrike on a neighborhood held by the Islamic State group in an eastern Syrian city has killed at least 17 civilians.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Monday that the previous day's airstrike on Hamidiyeh neighborhood in Deir el-Zour killed 18 and wounded others.

Opposition activist Omar Abu Laila, who is from Deir el-Zour and currently lives in Europe, said the airstrike struck a vegetable market on Sunday, killing 17 and wounding more than 25.

Deir el-Zour is contested between government forces and IS.

Russian and Syrian warplanes have targeted areas controlled by IS in the city. It was not immediately clear what warplanes were behind the latest airstrike.

3:28 p.m.

The Russian Defense Ministry says Syrian government troops have taken control over nearly half of the rebel-held Syrian city of Aleppo in a new offensive.

The ministry said Monday that government forces are in control of 12 neighborhoods, or roughly 40 percent of the city.

Aleppo, Syria's largest city and former commercial center, has been contested since the summer of 2012 and a rebel defeat in the city would be a turning point in the five-year conflict.

The Russian-backed Syrian army launched its offensive late last week.

3:11 p.m.

A group of lawyers are seeking to launch a criminal case in Germany against Syrian President Bashar Assad over alleged war crimes committed in the city of Aleppo.

The lawyers on Monday presented a criminal complaint against Assad, which they are submitting to German federal prosecutors. German law allows prosecutions under the principle of universal jurisdiction, under which countries can pursue foreigners for crimes committed abroad.

The lawyers cited Amnesty International reports and individual accounts by asylum-seekers in Germany in arguing that there is overwhelming evidence of multiple atrocities committed by Assad's forces in Aleppo between April and November.

Attorney Mehmet Daimaguler said: "We're experiencing genocide in Aleppo in slow motion."

He cited the targeted bombing of hospitals, cluster bombs on civilians and forced expulsion.

10:30 a.m.

Russia's Defense Ministry says Syrian government troops have captured 10 neighborhoods and over 3,000 buildings from rebels in Aleppo.

The ministry said in a statement on Monday that more than 100 rebels have laid down their weapons and exited the Syrian city's eastern suburbs. The ministry also said the Syrian government troops had pushed the rebels from al-Qadisia, which it described as the "key neighborhood of eastern Aleppo."

The government's push, backed by thousands of Shiite militia fighters from Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran, and under the occasional cover of the Russian air force, has laid waste to Aleppo's eastern neighborhoods.

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10: 15 a.m.

Syrian state media is reporting that government forces have captured the eastern Aleppo neighborhood of Sakhour, putting much of the northern part of Aleppo's besieged rebel-held areas under state control.

State news agency SANA says government forces captured the Sakhour neighborhood early Monday in the latest blow to rebels in Syria's largest city.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Syrian government forces have captured some 10 neighborhoods over the past few days, putting nearly 30 percent of Aleppo's formerly rebel-held neighborhoods under government control.

Government forces captured the Hanano district on Saturday, the first time they had pushed this far into eastern Aleppo since 2012.

Thousands of east Aleppo residents have fled to safety in government and Kurdish-controlled areas of the city.

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