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Syria rejects U.N. proposal for autonomous rebel-held Aleppo

By Andrew V. Pestano
Syria rejects U.N. proposal for autonomous rebel-held Aleppo
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem, seen here during a joint press conference with former Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi in Tehran, said Syria's regime rejected a proposal by the United Nations to allow rebel-held areas of Aleppo to remain under opposition control if rebel militants left the city. File Photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI | License Photo

DAMASCUS, Syria, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Syrian President Bashar-al Assad's regime has rejected a United Nations proposal to allow eastern Aleppo to remain under opposition control if rebel fighters withdraw.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said the proposal was "completely rejected" as a violation of "national sovereignty" after meeting with U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan De Mistura on Sunday in Damascus.

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De Mistura had proposed the Syrian government grant autonomy and recognize the local administration in Aleppo's rebel-held areas if militants left the city. Muallem rejected the proposal because he said Syria's institutions must be fully restored through all of Aleppo.

"It is not acceptable at all to leave some 275,000 of our people as hostages to 6,000 or 7,000 gunmen. There is no government in the world that would accept that," Muallem said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 103 people have died in rebel-controlled areas of Aleppo since Assad's regime ended a three-week moratorium on airstrikes.

At least eight children died by rebel rocket fire that hit a school in government-held west Aleppo on Sunday, state-run Syrian Arab News Agency.

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A family of six was killed in rebel-held eastern Aleppo's al-Sakhour district in a regime barrel bomb attack, the monitoring group said.

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