The largest hospital in eastern Aleppo was damaged by powerful bombs overnight in airstrikes that killed a reported 30 people as Russia continued to bombard the last major urban stronghold of rebel opposition to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The M10 hospital was hit by at least two barrel bombs and one rocket, Adham Sahloul, a spokesman for the Syrian American Medical Society, told CNN. It's the second time the hospital had been hit in two days, the activists said.
UNICEF says Russian and Syrian forces have killed an estimated 320 people and 100 children since the breakdown of a ceasefire on September 19, when a UN convoy was destroyed en route to deliver medical supplies to Aleppo. On Friday, Russia's Izvestia reported that Moscow will send more Su-24 and Su-34 warplanes to join the campaign, which began when it joined the conflict a year ago.
The new attacks come after leaked audio revealed that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he "lost the argument" for using military force in Syria to stop attacks against civilians and Syrian rebels.
"I've argued for the use of force. I'm the guy who stood up and announced that we're going to attack Assad for the use of weapons," Kerry is heard saying in response to a question on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, in audio obtained by the New York Times.
"A lot of Americans don't believe we should be fighting and sending young Americans over to die in another country," he said. "Congress won't vote to do it. What we are trying to do is help Syrians fight for their own country. The opposition was doing very well until the Russians came in."
The Russians accuse the U.S. of failing to separate moderate Syrian rebels from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, which was to be jointly targeted by U.S. and Russian airstrikes. "In spite of many repeated promises they are still not able or not willing to do this," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with the BBC. "We have more and more reasons to believe the plan from the beginning to spare Nusra and keep it as a 'Plan B' when it became time to change the regime."
But the U.S. State Department said Russian bombing was making the situation worse by driving moderate Syrian opposition into the arms of extremists. "As these moderate opposition forces are under more pressure they get driven into the arms of Nusra to fight side by side," said State Department spokesman Mark Toner. "It escalates and makes more confusing and jumbled what is already a difficult situation."
Russia has said it would support a 48-hour pause to allow humanitarian aid into the city but rejected U.S. demands for a longer ceasefire saying it would allow rebels to regroup and rearm. The Syrian civil war has claimed more than 250,000 lives since it began in 2011 and caused 4.8 million refugees to flee the country, according to the UN.