BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in the civil war in Syria (all times local):
The U.N. humanitarian chief is accusing Russia and Syria of using bombing and starvation tactics in eastern Aleppo to push people to surrender or to death, triggering an unusual attack on a U.N. official from the Russian ambassador.
The verbal fireworks exploded after Undersecretary-General Stephen O'Brien briefed the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday on what he called "the apocalyptic horror" in rebel-held eastern Aleppo.
He blamed Syria for besieging the city and at the same time bombing it with its Russian allies in a deliberate campaign to "make life intolerable, make death likely."
Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said it was "outrageous" that O'Brien spoke as if the bombings in eastern Aleppo are going on now when they have stopped for seven days — and for creating "the impression that chemical weapons have been used" in the rebel-held part of the city.
The bitterly divided council has been unable to agree on action to end the more than five-year Syrian conflict.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey is determined to oust Syrian Kurdish forces from the town of Manbij in northern Syria "in the shortest time."
In a speech delivered to a group of village and district administrators Wednesday, Erdogan said Turkey was also mulling the possibility of an intervention to clear a Kurdish-held border area in northern Syria stretching between the Turkish towns of Kilis and Kirikhan.
Erdogan said: "there is an effort to form a terror corridor ... along the border but we will not permit this."
The Syrian Kurdish forces expelled Islamic State fighters from Manbij this summer but Turkey considers the group — which is affiliated with its own outlawed Kurdish rebels— as a terror organization, and wants its fighters to withdraw to positions east of the Euphrates river.
The Turkish military, which is supporting Syrian opposition forces in their push to clear a border area of IS, has also attacked the Syrian Kurdish fighters, including with airstrikes.
The United States regards the Syrian Kurdish fighters as the most effective group in the fight against IS.
But Erdogan said: "I have told our American friends we do not need (the Syrian Kurdish groups) to fight Daesh," using an Arabic acronym for IS.
Syrian activists say that airstrikes outside a school in the northern, rebel-held province of Idlib have killed 17 people, mostly children.
The Idlib News network says the airstrikes hit as the children gathered outside a school complex in the village of Hass, in northern Idlib, on Wednesday.
The group says most of the casualties are children and that there are fears the death toll could rise further as some of the wounded are in critical condition. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at 22, including 14 children. It also says the death toll is likely to rise.
Idlib is the main Syrian opposition stronghold, though radical groups have a large presence there also. It has been regularly hit by Syrian and Russian warplanes as well as the U.S.-led coalition targeting Islamic State militants.
Turkey's state-run news agency says a helicopter believed to belong to Syrian government forces has dropped barrel bombs in a deadly attack on Turkey-backed opposition forces in the border area.
The Anadolu Agency, quoting military officials, reported on Wednesday that two opposition fighters were killed in the attack in the village of Tall Nayif in northern Syria while five others were wounded. The agency didn't say when the attack happened.
Turkey sent troops and tanks into Syria in August to support Syrian opposition forces efforts to clear the border area of Islamic State fighters.
Ankara is also seeking to contain the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces fighting IS. Turkey says the Kurdish forces are linked to Turkey's outlawed Kurdish insurgents and the Turkish government considers both to be terrorist groups.