Tit-for-tat attacks persist in Aleppo amid efforts for truce

Syrian regime and rebels continued to clash in the northern city of Aleppo Wednesday, a monitoring group said, as international efforts intensified to revive a major truce in the war-ravaged country.

At least three people were killed and an unspecified number of civilians injured in shelling by rebels on regime-held areas in Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Regime warplanes meanwhile bombarded the rebel-controlled area of Kafr Hamra in north-western Aleppo, the Britain-based watchdog reported without giving casualties.

The Syrian government had excluded Aleppo from a temporary ceasefire that started Saturday in the capital Damascus, nearby Eastern Ghouta and the coastal area of Latakia.

The mounting death toll in the divided city since an escalation of hostilities on April 22 has led to widespread calls for the ceasefire to be extended to Aleppo.

The fighting in Aleppo will be the focus of separate meetings due to be held later Wednesday at the UN Security Council in New York and the Cairo-based Arab League.

UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura is seeking support from the United States and Russia to revive an overarching cessation of violence, which went into effect in most of Syria in late February but has been frequently breached.

Germany will also host a meeting Wednesday aimed at putting Syria’s peace process back on track after the surge in fighting in recent weeks.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is to join de Mistura, Syrian opposition official Riad Hijab and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault for the talks to be held near Berlin's Lake Tegel.

On Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of “repercussions” for breaching the ceasefire mediated by Washington and Moscow in February.

“If Assad’s strategy is to somehow think he’s going to just carve out Aleppo and carve out a section of the country, I got news for you and for him: This war doesn’t end,” Kerry said in Washington. 

“It is simply physically impossible for Assad to just carve out an area and pretend that he’s somehow going to make it safe while the underlying issues are unresolved in this war.”

Once Syria's commercial hub, Aleppo is now divided between the government-held west and the rebel-controlled east, which has been devastated by years of shelling and air raids.

Recent regime military advances, backed by airstrikes from allied Russia, have put the east at risk of siege.

Last update: Wed, 04/05/2016 - 12:07
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