Syria to Suspend Aleppo Airstrikes for 6 Weeks

Syria to Suspend Aleppo Airstrikes for 6 WeeksSyria to Suspend Aleppo Airstrikes for 6 Weeks

The Syrian government is willing to suspend its aerial bombardment and artillery shelling of the northern city of Aleppo so that a local ceasefire can be tested, the United Nations mediator on Syria said on Tuesday.

Aleppo is at the forefront of clashes between government forces and a range of insurgents, including al-Qaeda’s Syria wing, Nusra Front, and western-backed units.

The Syrian army has captured several villages near Aleppo in battles aimed at encircling the northern city and cutting off insurgent supply lines, a monitoring group said, Reuters reported.

UN mediator Staffan de Mistura said opposition forces would be asked to suspend mortar and rocket fire.

“The government of Syria has indicated to me its willingness to halt all aerial bombing ... and artillery shelling for a period of six weeks all over the city of Aleppo from a date which we will be announcing from Damascus,” de Mistura said.

He said he would travel to Syria as soon as possible. “I have no illusions because, based on past experiences, this will be a difficult mission to be achieved,” de Mistura said. “Facts on the ground will prove if the freeze holds and can be replicated elsewhere.”