Syria Extends Ceasefire Despite  Heavy Fighting in Aleppo

Syria Extends Ceasefire Despite Heavy Fighting in Aleppo

Damascus has extended a ceasefire for 72 hours, marking the second of its kind since the end of Ramadan.
A top US diplomat is expected in Moscow, as the international community pushes to revive stalled peace talks.
Syria’s armed forces on Monday announced the extension of a nationwide ceasefire for an additional 72 hours, despite ongoing fighting in Aleppo, the country’s economic powerhouse before the conflict, AFP reported.
“A regime of calm will be extended for a period of 72 hours from one o’clock (local time) on July 12,” the armed forces said in a statement.
The extension marks the second of its kind since Damascus announced the initial “cessation of hostilities” on Wednesday in respect of the Eid al-Fitr celebration, which marks the end of Ramadan. However, heavy fighting continued in Aleppo and other parts of Syria.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that militant groups on Monday fired at least 300 shells into government positions in the city.
Peace talks have effectively broken down between Damascus and the Saudi-backed High Negotiations Committee, the main opposition alliance in Syria, since a US-Russia brokered “cessation of hostilities” collapsed.
UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said all parties should continue working towards a political solution to end the five-year conflict.
“More than ever, the key is a possible deal between Russia and America, because they are the ones who … pulled off the miracle of the two-month truce,” said de Mistura.
US State Secretary John Kerry is expected to visit Moscow this week to discuss the conflict with Russian officials.

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