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Airstrikes pound Aleppo after Syrian army declares ceasefire over

Rebel forces have been blamed for the failure of the US-Russia brokered ceasefire [AFP]

Date of publication: 19 September, 2016

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Syria's military has blamed rebel forces for the failure of the US-Russia ceasefire, which lasted one week.

Airstrikes have targeted at least five neighbourhoods in the rebel-held east of Aleppo city, after the Syrian regime declared the end of the ceasefire.

The bombing on Monday evening has trapped civilians in destroyed buildings, and the "White Helmets" civil defence volunteers are searching for survivors under the rubble, a resident told The New Arab.

An aid convoy of at least ten trucks believed to have been carrying tonnes of much-needed humanitarian supplies and food from the UN has also been targeted just outside Aleppo city, with many casualties reported. Reports suggest the aircraft doubled back after attacking the convoy and targeted rescue workers arriving on the scene.

Artillery shelling was also reported to the south of the city.

The freeze on fighting brokered by the United States and Russia lasted a week.

Syria's armed forces on Monday blamed rebel groups for its failure.

"Syria's army announces the end of the freeze on fighting that began at 7pm (1600 GMT) on September 12, 2016, in accordance with the US-Russia agreement," the statement carried by state news agency SANA said.

It said rebel groups "did not commit to a single element" of the deal.

A contributor to The New Arab based in Aleppo reported at least five regime air raids in the space of ten minutes at around 8:00pm, not long after the end of the ceasefire was announced.

The truce had come into force on the evening of September 12.

The main battlefronts subsequently saw a marked reduction in violence, but clashes broke out late last week in the central provinces of Hama and Homs, as well as east of Damascus.

The deal was further strained by US-led coalition strikes on Syrian army positions in the east that killed dozens of government soldiers, which Washington said was not intentional.

On Sunday, the cessation of hostilities was hanging by a thread after a fresh wave of air raids hit rebel-held districts of the battleground city of Aleppo, killing one woman.

These images sent from east Aleppo earlier on Monday by journalist Zouhir al-Shimale show eerily deserted streets as the Syrian armed forces declared the end of the ceasefire.

Zouhir told The New Arab that residents, who have been under regime siege despite the ceasefire, see "no clear vision for the near future in the city". Just two hours later, the bombing began again in earnest.

deserted aleppo

Deserted Aleppo

Deserted Aleppo


Clarification: An earlier version of this report suggested airstrikes began in Aleppo at around 6:00pm. That time was GMT, not local time. The article has been updated to correct this.

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