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Uneasy calm in Syria's Aleppo as partial truce declared
Friday May 6, 2016 0:01 AM, Agencies



Istanbul:
A truce has taken hold in the one-time commercial hub of Aleppo, activists have said. Despite the news, reports circulated that airstrikes had hit a refugee center near the Turkish border killing at least 28 people.

The northern Syrian city of Aleppo experienced relative calm on Thursday under a temporary cessation of hostilities agreement brokered by Russia and the United States, activists said, giving welcome relief to a community battered by two weeks of deadly violence.

Residents confirmed to Reuters news agency that fighting had subsided to a large degree.

Syrian state media said the army would abide by a "regime of calm" in Aleppo for 48 hours as of 1 a.m. local time on Thursday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which monitors the Syrian conflict via a network of activists on the ground, said there had been some brief rebel shelling of a regime-controlled area in the city in an attack that killed one civilian and injured two.

The army blamed Islamist insurgents for violating the truce. Residents, however, said the violence had eased by morning.

The relative calm in Aleppo has not, however, spread to the rest of the war-torn country.

SOHR announced later on Thursday that they had received reports of an airstrike on a refugee camp near the border with Turkey killing and wounding dozens. The Observatory did not immediately have information about who had carried out the strike or the exact number of casualties.

The Observatory has said at least 285 civilians have been killed in attacks by regime forces and rebels in Aleppo since fighting escalated on April 22. The city was once Syria's commercial hub but is now divided between the government-held west and the rebel-controlled east.

The recent surge in violence in Aleppo shattered an earlier cessation of hostilities agreement brokered by the United States and Russia, which each back rival sides in the conflict.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Bashar Assad on Tuesday of "repercussions" if he does not stick to the cease-fire. However, the Russian Defense Ministry on Wednesday said an upsurge in violence by Nusra Front militants had thwarted plans to extend the truce.

Meanwhile, the UN's envoy for Syria on Wednesday made a plea for a halt in fighting in the second city of Aleppo, warning that failure to do so could lead to a "catastrophic" outcome.

 




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