Aleppo ceasefire extended by 48 hours beginning early Tuesday - Syrian military

by Reuters
Monday, 9 May 2016 21:03 GMT

A general view shows a damaged street with sandbags used as barriers in Aleppo's Saif al-Dawla district, Syria March 6, 2015. REUTERS/Hosam Katan/File Photo

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Syria's largest pre-war city has witnessed vicious flare-up in fighting in recent weeks

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BEIRUT, May 9 (Reuters) - A ceasefire in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo will be extended by 48 hours beginning at 1 a.m. on Tuesday (2200 GMT Monday), state news agency SANA said on Monday, quoting the Syrian military high command.

Aleppo, Syria's largest pre-war city, has witnessed a vicious flare-up in fighting in recent weeks, shattering a nationwide cessation of hostilities agreement and causing peace talks to collapse.

The cessation of hostilities and such local truces do not include Islamic State or al Qaeda's Syrian branch, the Nusra Front.

Rebels and the mainstream Syrian opposition have said the Syrian government uses this fact to continue to attack rebel positions. Both sides accuse the other of causing the cessation of hostilities to break down.

In an attempt to revive the cessation of hostilities, a number of short-term local truces have been put in place since April 29, first around Damascus and northern Latakia and then in Aleppo.

The Aleppo truce went into effect in the middle of last week, but there has still been some fighting between rebels and government forces.

The most significant outbreak of violence has been southwest of Aleppo around the town of Kham Touman, which rebels seized on Friday, inflicting a rare setback on government forces and allied Iranian troops who suffered heavy losses in the fighting.

The chief negotiator for the main Syrian opposition at Geneva peace talks, Asaad al-Zoubi, criticised the extended Aleppo truce in an interview with Al Jazeera television, saying such measures serve only to allow thousands of reinforcing troops to be sent from Iran, which is supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"The truce has not been done for the interests of the Syrian people," he said. (Reporting by Lisa Barrington in Beirut; Additional reporting by Mostafa Hashem in Cairo; Editing by Alison Williams)

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