Russia announces 48-hour ceasefire in Aleppo

June 15, 2016  

Russia’s defense ministry announced late Wednesday that a 48-hour ceasefire in the Syrian city of Aleppo had been introduced, starting from Thursday, to help stabilize the war-torn city.

“On Russia’s initiative, a ‘regime of silence’ has been introduced in Aleppo for 48 hours from 00:01 16 June (2100 GMT Wednesday) with the goal of lowering the level of armed violence and stabilizing the situation,” a ministry statement said.

The statement did not specify who Russia has discussed the two-day ceasefire with.

It accused Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front of attacking various Aleppo neighborhoods with multiple rocket launchers, as well as mounting a tank attack southwest of the city.

The last-minute announcement, made just an hour before the ceasefire was to go into effect, came as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia and the Syrian regime to respect a frayed ceasefire that has been severely tested around divided Aleppo.

Russia provides air support to troops loyal to the Syrian regime as they fight the Syrian rebels and jihadists.

“Russia needs to understand that our patience is not infinite, in fact it is very limited with whether or not Assad is going to be held accountable,” Kerry said during a visit to Norway.

“We also are prepared to hold accountable members of the opposition” who have been involved in continuing violence, he added, speaking after a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Since fighting erupted Tuesday south of Aleppo, some 70 fighters in total have been killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A hospital in eastern Aleppo was heavily damaged by bombing Tuesday, the Medecins du Monde charity said.

Syria’s war has killed more than 280,000 people and displaced millions since it started with the brutal repression of anti-government protests in March 2011.

AFP contributed to this report.

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