Aleppo left out of latest Syria ceasefire amid mounting violence

Aleppo left out of latest Syria ceasefire amid mounting violence

PanARMENIAN.Net - Syria called local truces near Damascus and in a northern province on Friday, April 29 but no halt to combat on the main battlefield in Aleppo, after a surge in fighting the United Nations said showed "monstrous disregard" for civilian lives, Reuters reports.

A new "regime of calm" would begin from 1:00 a.m. on Saturday and last one day in the capital's eastern Ghouta suburb and three days in the northern countryside of the coastal province of Latakia, the army said in a statement.

But by excluding the city of Aleppo, scene of the worst recent violence, the narrow truces were unlikely to resurrect a ceasefire and peace talks that have collapsed this week, Reuters says.

A Syrian military source said Aleppo was excluded from the newly announced truces "because in Aleppo there are terrorists who have not stopped hitting the city and its residents ... There are a large number of martyrs in Aleppo, which is why the situation is different there."

Russia's Interfax news agency quoted the officer in charge of a Russian ceasefire monitoring centre as saying the truces meant all military action would cease in the covered areas.

Damascus described the truces as an attempt to salvage a wider "cessation of hostilities" agreement in place since February. That ceasefire, sponsored by Washington and Moscow, allowed peace talks to start but has all but completely collapsed in recent days along with the Geneva negotiations.

Violence was "soaring back to the levels we saw prior to the cessation of hostilities," said United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein.

"There are deeply disturbing reports of military build-ups indicating preparations for a lethal escalation," Zeid said in a statement that described a "monstrous disregard for civilian lives by all parties to the conflict".

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