ISTANBUL -- The Syrian dictatorship and Russian forces are on the offensive to encircle the city of Aleppo, a stronghold of the rebels who rose against the government five years ago.
A new partial cease fire was agreed to Friday, but not for Aleppo -- where the dictatorship hopes to break the back of rebels, regardless of civilian suffering.
The State Department says Aleppo will be included eventually, but that's not fast enough for the wounded there.
The latest attempt at a lasting cease fire doesn't even mention Aleppo, a bleeding wound of a city that used to be Syria's commercial hub -- and is now, again, a killing field.
All they can do in the rebel-held areas of Aleppo is wait, as more airstrikes rain down on their neighborhoods.
The Syrian regime -- along with its backers in Russian and Iran -- is trying to recapture all of Aleppo. The rebels are fighting back, and in this madhouse of a city they're counting the cost in body bags and shouting their grief to the sky while the outside world negotiates over Syria's future.
Internet video appears to show a survivor of airstrikes Thursday, a little boy who was freed from the rubble of a hospital destroyed by a direct hit.
Friday, many of the attacks were reportedly around mosques, on the Muslim holy day.
The wonder is that anyone is still living in Aleppo at all -- let alone risking their lives to treat the wounded and pull survivors from the wreckage.
Things could be about to get even worse for the people of Aleppo. The U.S. says Russia has moved heavy artillery to just outside the city -- sparking fears of a new offensive, or a siege of rebel-held areas.