Russia Announces Moves to Include Aleppo in Truce

Moscow says it aims to extend ceasefire truce to the northern city of Aleppo after a week of escalating violence in the rebel-held area

Russia on Sunday said that discussions were underway to bring the city of Aleppo into the temporary truce announced by regime forces in some of the country’s western areas, including the capital Damascus and Lattakia.

The Interfax news agency quoted a prominent official in the Defense Ministry as saying that there were discussions for the regime to include the city of Aleppo in the temporary truce.

The official did not say which parties were undertaking negotiations, but said that the ceasefire had been extended around Damascus for another 24 hours and that “in Lattakia province the ceasefire is still in effect until Monday with no need to extend it.” The Russian official said the truce agreement has been respected in both areas so far.

The largest Syrian opposition factions had previously rejected excluding Aleppo city from the “cessation of hostilities” agreement, saying that aggression against one opposition area constituted an aggression against them all.

In a joint statement signed by 44 military factions, of which Al-Souria Net obtained a copy, the opposition said that the “cessation of hostilities” agreement they approved includes all Syrian territory except the areas under the control of the Islamic State group.

It added: “We will under no circumstances accept the principle of fragmentation and regional truces. We in the military factions are one bloc, from north to south, east to west, and an attack against any liberated area where one of our factions is present constitutes an attack against all areas.”

The factions stressed that they had “the right to respond in the time and place of their choosing,” and said that the “cessation of hostilities” agreement was practically dead, due to the intensification of indiscriminate bombardment by the Assad regime and its allies, and massacres carried out in various areas against innocent civilians, medical facilities, schools and mosques.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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