Battle for Aleppo Intensifies After Ceasefire Ends

Battle for Aleppo Intensifies After Ceasefire EndsBattle for Aleppo Intensifies After Ceasefire Ends

The battle for control of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo intensified on Sunday with airstrikes, ground offensives and shelling, the morning after a resurgence in fighting ended a Russian ceasefire.

There was fierce fighting between insurgents and Syrian government and allied forces along a strategic frontline in southwest Aleppo, Reuters reported.

Russia has been announcing daily that it will abide by the next day of the series of daytime ceasefires, which it said it called to allow civilians and militants to leave the besieged city, but no announcement was made on Saturday.

There have been night-time clashes as each day of the ceasefire has ended, but Saturday saw much fiercer fighting plus the first airstrikes.

Aleppo was Syria’s most populous city before the war, but is now divided into government- and militant-held areas. Intense bombardment has reduced the militant-held east of the city to ruins.

Once again, no medical evacuations or aid deliveries to militant-held areas were possible on Saturday, the United Nations said. Militants did not accept the ceasefire, which they say does nothing to alleviate the situation of those who choose to remain in militant-held eastern Aleppo and believe it is part of a government policy to purge cities of political opponents.

The Syrian Army and Russia had called on residents and militants in eastern Aleppo to leave through designated corridors and depart for other insurgent-held districts under a promise of safe travel, but very few militants or civilians appeared to have left. Syrian state media says militants have been preventing civilians from leaving east Aleppo. Pro-government channels broadcast footage of ambulances and green buses parked at empty reception points in government-held Aleppo, said to be waiting for civilians and fighters from the city’s east.

Sporadic clashes between insurgents and Syrian government and allied forces had been reported earlier on Saturday along frontlines, with some shells falling on both the government-held western side of the city and the militant-held east, the Observatory said.

Asked if further extensions of the Aleppo pause were under discussion, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted by RIA news agency earlier on Saturday as saying it depends on the actions of other parties.

“We’ll see how today goes. At the highest level, it’s already been said that (extending the pause) depends not on our possibilities but it largely depends on whether there is a proper movement from the opposite direction,” he said.

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