The fight for Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, raged on Thursday, as the government’s key ally, Iran, hosted talks on how to end the conflict.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi met with representatives at the ambassador level from nearly 30 nations, including Russia, China and Iraq. He said it would be “a mistake” to think that the Syrian government will change with continued pressure.
The United States and its Western allies did not attend the talks. White House spokesman Jay Carney said there is “vast evidence that demonstrates that Iran has been engaged in an effort to prop up Assad as he brutally murders his own people.”
Journalists inside the city of Aleppo say government forces have been able to recapture some territory, as many rebels pulled back farther north. Several rebel commanders also have complained that they are running low on weapons and munitions.
Rebel field commander Malek al-Kurdi told VOA’s Persian service on the Turkish-Syrian border that the rebels desperately need international help.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that nearly 170 people died in fighting across the country Wednesday, including 33 people in Aleppo.
In other developments Thursday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appointed Wael al-Halqi as the new prime minister, following the defection earlier this week of former prime minister Riad Hijab.